It's HOT, HOT, HOT!Caring for our children in the Texas heatThis time of year is hard on everyone...our Texas heat, especially on humid days, takes it toll. Add in the air quality concerns on certain days, and you've all the ingredients for heat-related illnesses. Our children are particularly susceptiblebecause of their body size and mass...here are some precautions to follow and some signs to watch for. And I've included our campus guidelines, too...your children's safety is uppermost in our thoughts. Be sure and see the special letter to parents regarding our student athletes at the end of the article.
Precautions and PreventionDuring a heat wave the body has to work extra hard to maintain a normaltemperature. Excessive heat can result in serious health threats by pushing thehuman body beyond its limits. Young children, elderly people, and those who aresick or overweight are most at risk.
Measures for Preventing Heat Related Illnesses
- NEVER leave children or pets alone in closed vehicles.
- Slow down, avoid strenuous activity, especially in the middle of day.
- Avoid too much direct sun, find shady spots, take frequent shade breaks if you must be outside. Use sunscreen.
- Plan outdoor games and activities for early morning or evening.
- Avoid extreme temperature changes, give your body time to adjust to temperature changes gradually.
- Stay indoors as much as possible; use fans or air conditioners to cool the air.
- Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing that will cover as much skin as possible, but allows plenty of air circulation.
- Protect face and head by wearing a wide-brimmed hat.
- Drink plenty of fluids, even if you do not feel thirsty, and avoid alcoholic and caffeinated beverages (tea, cokes, coffee).
Watch for these signs and symptoms
Type of Heat-related IllnessSigns & Symptoms
to watch for
What to do for affected persons
HEAT CRAMPS –
precipitated by vigorous activity
· person is alert, but possibly agitated and complains of pain, especially muscle cramps
· vital signs are normal, although body temperature may be slightly elevated
· muscles may twitch or spasm, and feel hard or lumpy – they are tender to touch
· skin may be flushed, feel moist and cool to touch
· move the person to a cool environment
· provide rest
· give fluids by mouth – water and electrolyte (i.e. Gatorade replacements are best (salt tablets are not recommended)
usually results from prolonged activity in a warm to hot environment without adequate salt intake, and may follow heat cramps if that stage is not treated properly
· may have heat cramps (see above)
· nausea, vomiting, thirst, weakness, low urine output, headache, fatigue
· body temperature over 100°, pulse is rapid, weak; increased blood pressure; possible fast, deep breathing
· pale, moist, cool skin
· may have confusion, giddiness, dizziness, impaired judgment
· hands/feet may tingle
· move to cool
· provide rest
· give fluid and electrolyte replacement by mouth –
(watch for signs of choking) or progression to heat stroke
· firm pressure or gentle massage to muscles that are cramping
HEAT STROKE –
this is a very serious category and can be
· dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, blurred vision
· body temperature greater than 106°, rapid pulse, blood pressure might be slightly elevated at first, then will drop; heavy rapid deep breathing
· pupils may be dilated
· emotional changes, confusion, delirium, seizures, collapse and unconsciousness are possible
· skin red, hot, wet at first, then sweating stops and skin is hot and dry
this is a crisis!
CALL 911, then:
· lower body temperature quickly
· remove as much clothing as is feasible, apply cool water to skin
· fan with cool air to the wet skin
· control shivering (makes body temp. rise more)
· ice packs to groin, armpits
· may need help with breathing or CPR until ambulance arrives-keep checking pulse, check breathingHere's what we do at school...Our staff all receive the chart above, plus the followingOur student activity guidelinesHere is a great chart to determine the Temperature/Humidity Index (THI)THI Chart
Another good resource to use is:Stay cool, safe, and healthy!