Tips for Preventing Heat-Related Illnesses

It’s great to get outdoors during the summer, but it’s important to stay safe in the sun. Don´t let the heat ruin your family fun. Follow these tips to prevent heat-related health issues:

  • Never cover your baby’s stroller with a blanket. It may block the sun, but even a thin blanket can stop air circulation and cause the interior of the stroller to overheat.
  • Never leave a child in a parked car. Vehicles can quickly heat up to dangerous temperatures, even with a window cracked open.
  • Keep your children hydrated when they’re playing outside, don’t wait until they’re thirsty.

Stay Safe in the Sun and the Water

Summer is officially here! That can mean higher temperatures and lots of humidity. Here are a few tips whether you want to make the most of it outdoors or maintain a healthy lifestyle with the change in weather:

  • Rethink your drink – try sure to choose water over sugary drinks.
  • Be active for at least 30 minutes five days a week!
  • Eat more fruit and vegetables.
  • Make a plan to quit if you are still smoking.

Sun Safety at School

As the temperatures rise, it is important that students drink plenty of water and dress appropriately for the heat. Water bottles are encouraged.  Students are also able to wear sunglasses, hats or other sun-protective wear while outdoors and are allowed to possess and use sunscreen on school property without a prescription (FS 962(m)). Students are encouraged to apply sunscreen before going to school, and may self-apply it prior to going outdoors. Using sunscreen wipes is recommended for easy application.

Exercising in Florida’s Summer Heat

By Jana Griffin – Orange County IFAS/Extension, Family & Consumer Sciences Agent

Living in Florida has its perks with lots of opportunities to enjoy exercise outside with access to beaches, walking trails, and parks. As you are encouraged to take advantage of these many opportunities, please be cautious of the heat and the damage it can cause to our bodies. Dehydration and heat exhaustion are just a few conditions that can happen in areas that have high heat and humidity. Signs and symptoms can range from light headedness, nausea, confusion, fatigue, loss of consciousness, and in extreme cases, death. This summer, as we continue to enjoy the outside pleasures our wonderful sunshine state has to offer, please remember to follow these simple tips to make it a safe, memorable and happy summer for all.


Hydration– Drink plenty of fluids and carry a bottle of water wherever you go. Make sure to drink more fluids than you are losing.

Electrolytes– In cases of prolonged sun exposure and fluid loss from sweating, remember to replace electrolytes. This can easily be done by consuming a sports drink like Gatorade or Powerade.

Appropriate clothing– Wear clothing that is light in color to help reflect sunlight. Choose material that wicks moisture away from the skin, allowing for quick evaporation and helping your body cool.

Time– Consider the time of day when choosing outside fitness activities. Morning time before 10 and afternoon time after 3 are better options as times between 10 and 3 are typically the hottest of the day.

If you choose physical activity options outside, these tips will help you continue achieving your fitness goals and remain safe. Always listen to your body and discontinue all activities if you begin to feel any of the above symptoms.

Sports Injury Prevention Tips

More American children are competing in sports than ever before. Sports help children and adolescents keep their bodies fit and feel good about themselves. However, there are some important injury prevention tips that can help you promote a safe, optimal sports experience for your child.

Injury Risks
All sports have a risk of injury. In general, the more contact in a sport, the greater the risk of a traumatic injury. However, most injuries in young athletes are due to overuse.

Most frequent sports injuries are sprains (injuries to ligaments) strains (injuries to muscles), and stress fractures (injury to bone) caused when an abnormal stress is placed on tendons, joints, bones and muscle. In a growing child, point tenderness over a bone should be evaluated further by a medical provider even if there is minimal swelling or limitation in motion.  Contact your pediatrician if you have additional questions or concerns.

To reduce the risk of injury:

  • Take time off. Plan to have at least 1 day off per week and at least one month off per year from training for a particular sport to allow the body to recover.
  • Wear the right gear.  Players should wear appropriate and properly fit protective equipment such as pads (neck, shoulder, elbow, chest, knee, shin), helmets, mouthpieces, face guards, protective cups, and/or eyewear.
  • Young athletes should not assume that protective gear will prevent all injuries while performing more dangerous or risky activities.
  • Strengthen muscles. Conditioning exercises during practice strengthens muscles used in play.
  • Increase flexibility. Stretching exercises after games or practice can increase flexibility. Stretching should also be incorporated into a daily fitness plan.
  • Use the proper technique. This should be reinforced during the playing season.
  • Take breaks. Rest periods during practice and games can reduce injuries and prevent heat illness.
  • Play safe. Strict rules against headfirst sliding (baseball and softball), and spearing (football), and checking in hockey should be enforced.
  • Stop the activity if there is pain.
  • Avoid heat injury by drinking plenty of fluids before, during and after exercise or play; decrease or stop practices or competitions during high heat/humidity periods; wear light clothing.

Sports-Related Emotional Stress
The pressure to win can cause significant emotional stress for a child. Sadly, many coaches and parents consider winning the most important aspect of sports. Young athletes should be judged on effort, sportsmanship and hard work. They should be rewarded for trying hard and for improving their skills rather than punished or criticized for losing a game or competition. The main goal should be to have fun and learn lifelong physical activity skills.

 Copyright © 2016 American Academy of Pediatrics

Tips to Get Kids to Drink More Water

Adapted from VeryWell

It’s summer in Florida which means it’s hot and we need to pay close attention to how much water our kids are drinking. Staying hydrated is essential to good health (for children, teens, and adults) and for safety in the Florida heat. Research even shows that when kids have better access to drinking water at school, obesity rates go down.

A child’s exact water intake needs will vary based on their height, weight, and even the weather.  Here’s a chart to provide guidance:

Kids Total Daily Beverage and Drinking Water Requirements

Age Range Gender Total Water (Cups/Day)
4 to 8 years Girls and Boys 5
9 to 13 years Girls 7
Boys 8
14 to 18 years Girls 8
Boys 11

Data is from Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) Tables. Recommended Daily Allowance and Adequate Intake Values: Total Water and Macronutrients.

How do we help ensure our children are drinking enough water?  Here are some tips:

Drink More Water? There’s an App for That

Dozens, actually! If your child has a smartphone or tablet, you can download a water-tracking and reminder app for her. There are lots of free and paid options, but some of the more kid-friendly ones are:

Plant Nanny: Choose a seedling and help it grow by tracking your water intake. This is a free app, so beware of ads, up-sells, and poor grammar. And it doesn’t offer reminders like many other hydration apps do. But it’s cute and more motivating than filling up a virtual water drop or bottle (iOS; Google Play).

Carbodroid: Instead of a plant, power up a cute little robot with this Android app. It also offers reminders, and has a simple, straightforward interface (Google Play).

iDrated: This one’s for the data-lovers. You can see your intake stats for the day or the week, set reminders, and change the target hydration level to one that works best for you (99 cents, iOS).

Water with a Twist

With all the other choices out there, it’s no wonder kids don’t always love plain old water. To boost its appeal without adding sugar or calories, try:

Fancy ice cubes: You can find trays that make cool cubes for Lego lovers, Star Wars fans, and creative types (make suns, stars, trees, flowers, and sea life). You can also make good old rectangular ice, but add fruit or mint leaves for a hint of flavor and a burst of color.

Fruit garnish: Instead of adding fruit to your ice, you can also take a cue from fancy spas and beach resorts, and add it directly to your water. Drop sliced fruits or berries right into your water pitcher, or try a water bottle with a built-in infuser.

Bubbles: Not all kids like carbonation, but if yours do, consider buying seltzer water for them or investing in a Sodastream for your family. It allows you to bottle your own fizzy water at home. If you’d like to flavor it, you can do that too, and you’ll have more control than if you purchase flavored, sweetened drinks.

Bottles with Flair

A cool or cute bottle can encourage kids to drink more water, and so can having a special bottle or cup that you carry with you all the time. Plus, refillables don’t generate waste. Here’s a lineup of top BPA-free bottles especially for kids. Your kids might prefer a straw cup or a small bottle or cup that they fill up frequently.  Sometimes that’s less intimidating than a grown-up size serving. And at home, you can have a stash of fun drinking straws to prompt more water intake.

Family Water Challenge

Make drinking more water a family policy: Don’t keep other beverages (aside from water and milk) in your home, and don’t make it a practice to buy them when you’re eating out either.

And/or, set a family goal to drink more water, so you can work on it together. Track your progress using an app, a sticker chart, or even by marking right on your water bottles with a dry-erase marker.

Potty Talk

Did you know that dark-colored urine is a sign of dehydration? If you drink a healthy amount of water, your pee will be a very pale yellow. This fun fact might just be gross enough to motivate your kids to drink up.

Heat Related Health Concerns for Kids and Families

hot kid summerThe summer heat in Florida can almost be unbearable at times.  There are common concerns around dehydration and sun protection, but there are also other heat related health concerns that you will want to pay attention to.  Here’s information on a few heat related health concerns and actions to minimize them as you and your children enjoy the Florida summer.



Athlete’s Foot

Athlete’s foot can occur when the foot is repeatedly exposed to high moisture environments.

– Wear flip-flops or other foot protection at the pool

– Wear moisture wicking socks

– Check to make sure athletic shoes are made of breathable material

Food Poisoning

Cases of food poisoning tend to increase summer months when many of us are eating outside without our usual food preparation safeguards.

– Don’t leave food out for longer than 2 hours.  This time period decreases in temperatures over 90 degrees.

– Keep cold food cold and hot food hot.  If you don’t have methods to do so, consider foods that are served at room temperature or do not require heating or cooling.

Coxsackie virus (Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease)

This virus is most prevalent in the summer months, and  loves kids’ warm wading pools.

– Check to make sure any pool you are using is chlorinated.

– Thoroughly clean backyard wading pools after each use.

Be safe, healthy and enjoy your summer because healthy kids make better students and better students make healthy communities.

(adapted from: Huget, J. L. (2015, June 29). The heat and the hazard: 9 facts about summer health.  The Washington Post.  Retrieved from

Summer Garden Tips

summer-gardeningWith temperatures peaking within the high 90s, summer is defiantly in full swing!  Only specific plants in your garden can survive this intense heat and current rain showers. Here are some tips from Our Whole Community to keep your garden thriving in Central Florida this summer.




Here are a few strategies for your summer garden:


1. Grow heat tolerant vegetables:

You can still continue to grow black-eyed peas, collards, rattlesnake pole beans, speckled lima beans, New Zealand spinach, okra, sweet potato, malabar spinach, and yard-long beans.


2. Grow cover crops:

Plant cowpeas, sorghum, millet, lab lab bean and velvet bean. Sunn hemp is an excellent choice because it reduces nematodes too! These crops are fun and easy while they also improve the soil.


3. Solarize the soil:

Soil solarization is a process where you use the energy from the sun to kill soil pests.

To solarize:

  • Clear all vegetation from the garden.
  • Loosen the soil and cover for 6 weeks with clear plastic.
  • To prevent the plastic from blowing away, place bricks or other weights on the corners.
  • Plastic should be removed at the beginning of September to prepare for fall planting.


4. Mulch over the garden:

Use a 3-6″ layer of straw or wood chip mulch to help prevent weeds from growing and keep the soil from drying out. In addition, it will add organic matter to the soil and keep it living healthy!


Do you have tips of your own?  Leave them in the comment section below, post them on our Facebook or tweet them to us at@HealthyKids2Day.


Happy Gardening!

Beat the Heat

Summer HeatSummer is here and the temperature is climbing.  With the mercury already reaching into the 90’s it is very important to be safe when you and your family are enjoying the Florida summer.  The National Weather Service reports that heat is one of the leading weather-related killers in the United States.  Below are some simple tips to beat the heat and symptoms to be aware of if you think someone is suffering from a heat related illness.

  • Listen to your local weather – be aware of how hot it is going to be for the day.  Pay attention not only to the temperature but also to the heat index.  The high humidity can make 89˚ feel like 104˚.
  • Keep a bottle of water with you – carrying a bottle of water with you is an easy way to stay hydrated.  The high heat can dehydrate you very easily.  Make sure to fill up your water bottle and refill it when you’re finished.
  • Try to avoid being outside in the middle of the day – the day is hottest between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.  If you must to be outside during this time, try and find shade when available.  If it is not necessary, try being outside before or after this time.
  • Wear protective and cool clothing – if you’re going to be outside wear clothing that protects your body and keeps it cool.  Wearing a hat and sunglasses is a good way to protect your face.  If you have dry fit or moisture wicking clothing, wear that when you’re outside.  This technology will help you stay cool.


Heat-Related Illness Symptoms and First Aid from the National Weather Service.

Heat Cramps


  • Painful muscle cramps and spasms usually in legs and abdomen
  • Heavy sweating

First Aid:

  • Apply firm pressure on cramping muscles or gentle massage to relieve spasm.
  • Give sips of water, if nausea occurs, discontinue water

Heat Exhaustion


  • Heavy sweating
  • Weakness
  • Cool, pale, clammy skin
  • Weak pulse
  • Possible muscle cramps
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fainting
  • Normal temperature possible

First Aid:

  • Move person to a cooler environment
  • Remove or loosen clothing
  • Apply cool, wet cloths
  • Fan or move victim to air conditioned room
  • Offer sips of water. If nausea occurs, discontinue water. If vomiting continues, seek immediate medical attention.

Heat Stroke (or sunstroke)


  • Altered mental state
  • Possible throbbing headache, confusion, nausea, dizziness, shallow breathing
  • High body temperature (106°F or higher)
  • Skin may be hot and dry, or patient may be sweating
  • Rapid pulse
  • Possible unconsciousness

First Aid:

  • Heat stroke is a severe medical emergency. Summon emergency medical assistance or get the victim to a hospital immediately. Delay can be fatal.
  • Move the victim to a cooler, preferably air-conditioned, environment
  • Reduce body temperature with a water mister and fan or sponging
  • Use fan if heat index temperatures are below the high 90s
  • Use extreme caution
  • If temperature rises again, repeat process
  • Do NOT give fluids