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For people with Down syndrome, family members, caregivers and professionals.

Warning Signs a Person with Down Syndrome is Getting Overheated

April 2022 | Brian Chicoine, MD - Medical Director, Adult Down Syndrome Center

Exercise is important for people with Down syndrome just as it is for all people. For all people, care must be taken to avoid overdoing it with exercise. Excessive sweating can be a sign to ease back, get a good drink of water, and cool down. 
 
However, some people with Down syndrome don’t sweat much and can get overheated more easily. It is important to watch for signs of overdoing exercise or overheating including: 
 

Complaint of being excessively hot

Getting very red in the face

Increasing fatigue

Muscle cramping

Nausea

After exercising for a period of time and noting the person is getting quite warm, it is concerning when the complaint turns to being cold. (Obviously being outside in a cold environment for a prolonged time can be the cause, too.)

Dizziness 

 
More concerning signs include: 
 

Passing out

Confusion

 
Measures to help avoid overheating: 
 

Drink plenty of fluids

Avoid overdressing

Limit exercise in very hot and humid conditions

 
If a person becomes mildly overheated, treat by
 

Stop exercising and rest in a cool place

Drink cool liquids

Apply cool water or wet cloth to the skin

Loosen clothing

 
If the milder symptoms don’t resolve in an hour or so with the above treatments, symptoms worsen, or more serious signs are seen, get medical assistance. 

 

Additional information about temperature regulation in people with Down syndrome can be found in this article.
 
 

Please note: The information on this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to serve as a substitute for a medical, psychiatric, mental health, or behavioral evaluation, diagnosis, or treatment plan by a qualified professional. We recommend you review the educational material with your health providers regarding the specifics of your health care needs.

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