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Pediatricians expecting to see an uptick in kids visiting for heat related illnesses this summer

Many summer camps and sporting camps are making some adjustments to help keep kids safe.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — This week marks the first week of summer, and it's important that you move with caution when out in the sun.

Health officials say high temperatures can lead to heat-related illnesses and dehydration, especially for children who are one of the most vulnerable populations impacted.

Pediatricians say they’re expecting to see an uptick in heat-related illnesses this summer by about 15%. They say most of their visits related to dehydration are from teenagers who are doing lots of heavy exercise or participating in summer and sporting camps. 

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"Although kids and adolescence get rid of heat similarly to adults, they are in more danger than healthy adults and that’s because of their physical characteristics and their behavior," Amara Zuzo, with Novant Health, said.

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Zuzo said most kids will spend more time outdoors during their summer break, and it's important to know how to keep them safe while in the sun.

"It's extremely important to monitor children, especially in adolescence and teenagers who do heavy exercises or participate in football or tennis camps," Zuzo said. 

WCNC spoke with some summer camps including the Boys and Girls Club who said they are already making some adjustments to beat the heat.

"We have modified our activity some, and we are planning more activities indoors all outdoor activities are planned for in the morning prior to noon," Amy Hudson, with the Boys and Girls Club, said. 

Hudson said along with limiting the amount of time outdoors they’re also making sure kids have easy access to water stations and incorporating more activities to help keep them cool.

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"We will have water slides, water balloons, and slip and slides," Hudson said. 

The YMCA is also making some changes including rotating activities indoors for periods of rest and relaxation, and they're ensuring that kids are hydrated before and after camp.

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"They play more outside and may not recognize signs of thirst, and if they do recognize it they're more likely to ignore it because they’re having too much fun," Zuzo said. 

Health officials said along with taking frequent breaks from outdoors, some of the main signs that a child is dehydrated include less energy and an increase in frustration and irritation.

Contact Tradesha Woodard at twoodard1@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

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