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ST. LOUIS – Heat index readings are going to be up to 110 degrees this weekend. If you’re going to be spending time outdoors or playing sports, there are some serious precautions you need to take.

Dr. Ken Haller, SLUCare Pediatrician at SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital, says that the two most important things are rest and hydration.

Dr. Haller says it’s great if your children are out getting exercise but they need to come in to get something to drink every half hour. Don’t wait for them to get thirsty. Also, make sure they’re going to the bathroom regularly and apply sunscreen on all exposed skin before they go out on the field.

“It is important to find areas that are shaded. When kids take these breaks, it’s important for them to be out of the sun to be in an area that is shaded,” Haller said. “If kids are feeling dizzy, if they’re feeling nauseated, that would be a sign that they might actually need to get medical attention. So it’s really important to get ahead of that by making sure that kids are drinking the entire time. Making sure they’re well hydrated. Taking breaks on a regular basis; like no more than 30 minutes out there without pulling them off the field to get a drink.”

If kids are complaining of dizziness, troubles walking, double vision, not going to the bathroom frequently, vomiting, or just feeling really bad, make sure you take them off the field and get them medical attention.

As for wearing masks, Dr. Haller says that the possibility of spreading the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is lower outside because of the way air currents work and that UV light tends to deactivate the virus. But that doesn’t mean that the virus is gone completely.

“If kids are working with each other and they can’t be spaced more than six feet apart, they need to be wearing a mask when they’re doing that. It’s also really important to be washing their hands and using hand sanitizers to keep their hands clean,” Haller said. “It’s also really important that sports equipment, whether it’s bats or balls, whatever, be sanitized each time a new person uses it. So make sure you have plenty of sanitizing wipes with you whenever you’re taking the kids out to play ball.”

Dr. Haller says that it’s important for kids to get outside this time of year, have a good time, and exercise. But make sure they do it safely. The key is hydration, sunscreen, and doing those things we can to prevent COVID-19.