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Avoid Dehydration to Prevent Heat Exhaustion or Stroke

Hot summer months mean lots of outdoor activities, lots of time in the sun, and lots and lots of sweating - perfect ingredients for a dangerous case of dehydration, which can lead to heat exhaustion or even heat stroke.

The best way to stop dehydration? Take preemptive steps to prevent it. Drink lots of water, and stay hydrated. On an average day, for an average person, the recommended fluid amount is three quarts of water - if you’re out in the sun or the heat, increase this amount.

Aside from keeping yourself hydrated, the next best thing to do is learn the symptoms and warning signs, so that at the first recognition, you can take action to prevent the situation from worsening.

Symptoms of dehydration in adults include:

  • Unusual thirst

  • Less frequent urination, or dark-colored urine

  • Dry skin, especially when one would ordinarily be sweating

  • Fatigue, dizziness, fainting

Symptoms of dehydration in children and infants include the same ones as those found in adults, with a few additions:

  • Dry mouth/tongue

  • No wet diapers for over three hours

  • Crying without tears

  • High fever

  • Being unusually tired

If any of these signs are observed, encourage the symptomatic person to go into a cool place, or at least go into shade, out of the hot sun. Then, be sure to offer fluids, urge the person to lie down or to rest, and, if available, encourage them to shower, bathe, or sponge off with a cold compress.

Mild dehydration is best treated with small amounts of fluid often, rather than forcing large amounts all at once. Electrolyte solutions (like sports drinks, or similar products) and freezer pops are also helpful.

Once a person becomes dehydrated, they are at risk for heat stroke or heat exhaustion. Stay alert for the symptoms:

  • Body temperature above 104 degrees

  • Confusion or bizarre behavior

  • Strong, rapid pulse

  • Lack of sweating

  • Faintness or unconsciousness

If any of these are observed, medical assistance may be necessary. Typical treatment consists of the administration of intravenous fluids and a hospital stay. If heat-related illnesses go untreated, seizures, permanent brain damage, or even death can occur.

Remember: dehydration and heat exhaustion are 100 percent preventable by being smart and sun-savvy! Drink water and embrace the shade - it’s all about the balance.

Tips for Dealing with Extreme Heat

Extreme heat can be very dangerous, leading to heat stroke and death. Heat stroke occurs when your temperature rises quickly and your body cannot cool down. This condition is life-threatening, but it is preventable.

Tips for Preventing Heat-Related Illness

  • Stay in air-conditioned space if possible. If your home is not air-conditioned, go to a public library, heat-relief shelter, or other cool location.
  • Drink plenty of non-alcoholic fluids (check with your doctor if you are usually supposed to limit your fluids).
  • Wear loose-fitting, lightweight clothing.
  • Cut back on exercise. 
  • Closely watch those who are at high risk of heat-related illness, including older adults, young children, and individuals with physical and/or mental illnesses. 
  • NEVER leave anyone in an enclosed, parked vehicle.

If you believe that you or someone else may be suffering from heat stroke or another heat-related illness, get help right away. It could be a life or death emergency.

Tips to Keep Your Kids Reading This Summer

School is usually the last thing students are concerned about during their breaks - it’s all sun, fun and friends. But breaks from school are times when completely cutting out learning can be detrimental to a student.

According to Serve.gov’s Strong Minds campaign, kids can lose months of progress in reading achievement over summer vacations. Use these tips to keep your kids learning and engaged:

And since everybody knows kids love fun and games after a long day of learning, have them explore the Kids.gov collection of reading games available online.

Become a Safer Swimmer

Swimming, whether at a pool or at the beach is a great way to get some exercise and spend time with your family and friends. But swimming can be risky for children and inexperienced adults. These resources can help you and your children stay safe in the water:

Keeping Kids and Adults Safe

  • Through the American Red Cross water safety page you can enroll your child in a swimming class and learn where to find U.S. coast guard approved life jackets

  • CPR  is an important life-saving skill to know during a water related emergency

  • Teach your children about the importance of pool safety through this interactive video game: “The Adventures of Splish and Splash

  • Make sure to keep a cell phone and first aid kit close by in case of an emergency

  • And of course, remember to apply plenty of sunscreen to reduce the chance of skin damage


Staying Safe at the Pool

If you decide to swim at a pool this summer, remember to make sure that all equipment is up to date and that all pool drains are covered.

If you are visiting a community pool, take the time to read and follow the pool rules posted and only swim at pools where there is a lifeguard on duty.

At a residential pool, a fence should be installed around the perimeter of the pool and an experienced adult swimmer should always be present. Learn more from  PoolSafety.gov’s tips on staying safe at community and residential pools and spas.

Staying Safe at the Beach

It’s important to remember that swimming at a beach is drastically different than swimming at a pool so you’ll need to be extra careful  in natural bodies of water. The biggest danger of swimming in the ocean is getting caught in rip currents, powerful currents on the surface of the water that can quickly carry you out to sea. Watch this video to learn how to avoid and escape them.

Remember never to swim at a beach when there isn’t a lifeguard present and to familiarize yourself with the beach warning flags before you and your family decide to go swimming.

Fight Summer Boredom

By Kids.gov

Now that it’s the heat of summer, it’s harder for kids to find fun activities on their days off. In June, Kids.gov hosted a Twitter chat where we brainstormed fun and educational activities for your kids this summer.

We were joined by numerous partners, including NASA, Fitness.gov, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Girlshealth.gov, My Plate and more, and an enormous amount of resources were shared to help spark new activity ideas for your kids. Take a look at some of the highlights from the chat:


What kinds of outdoor activities do you do with your kids in the summer?

BLM:  Summer is a great time to hike, bike and explore America’s Great Outdoors! Plan your adventure at http://www.recreation.gov

NASA: You don’t have to go space to experience the moon! Craters of the Moon, New Mexico http://on.doi.gov/12dLa6u


Do you have a favorite park, pool or beach you take the kids to every summer?

EPA: Find a beach near you with this EPA beach finder: http://1.usa.gov/11P8NSS

BLM: Hands on the Land connects agencies, teachers, parents and students with publiclands and waterways http://bit.ly/15n4253


Summer weather can be rough, but summer nights are beautiful. Are there any evening activities you love to do with your kids?

BLM: Literacy this summer?  Try our Tori the Tortoise book - fun and educational http://on.doi.gov/yLrDqO

NASA: Have you visited http://NASAWavelength.org? It has some great links to summer activities


Summer is full of BBQs and vacations. Do you try and encourage healthy eating with your kids?

Fitness.gov: Parents should encourage kids to choose quality foods! Have active kids? Here’s how to keep them healthy: http://1.usa.gov/18G4XlX

Kids.gov: Find healthy eating games and information to engage your kids at http://1.usa.gov/122UYVa

MyPlate: When at the beach &kids are thirsty, drink water instead of sugary drinks! http://ow.ly/mebCI  


How do you keep your kids entertained on rainy days? There are some great educational games and videos now to help!

Kids.gov: Have your kids play educational games rather than video games on rainy days: http://1.usa.gov/Y4cFjB

Fitness.gov:  Active gaming keeps kids moving even on a rainy day! Take a look: http://t.co/sAuo8V1hLT

Girls Health: Also for girls who want to be scientists, check out this great video from the White House! http://t.co/pUxboMl9kR

For more fun and educational activities from Kids.gov, follow us on Twitter: @kidsgov