Baby, It's HOT, HOT, HOT!
Caring for your children in the 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 susceptible because 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.Precautions and Prevention
During a heat wave the body has to work extra hard to maintain a normal temperature. Excessive heat can result in serious health threats by pushing the human body beyond its limits. Young children, elderly people, and those who are sick or overweight are most at risk.
Measures for Preventing Heat Related Illnesses
Watch for these signs and symptoms
- 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).
Heat Syndrome Chart
Type of Heat-related Illness
Signs & 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 for school...Heat syndrome has three progressive categories, heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. It can result from conditions that increase heat production, such as exercise, infection, and drugs (for example, amphetamines). It can also come from factors that interfere with body cooling, such as high temperatures (especially with high humidity), lack of acclimatization (not used to the heat), excess clothing, heart or blood vessel disease, being overweight, dehydration, sweat gland malfunctions, and drugs such as phenothiazines (many antihistamines, bronchodilators), and anticholinergic drugs used to dry up secretions. Many people have multiple factors that greatly increase their vulnerability. Air pollution days further increase susceptibility to heat stress, especially for people with respiratory problems.
People who are very old, very young, or already ill are most susceptible to heat syndrome.
General advisory - USE COMMON SENSE!
(1) If it is a very still, hot, humid day, don’t involve people in outdoor activities for more than a few minutes at a time, especially during late morning to late afternoon. Look at the THI chart to see how heat and humidity combine to cause dangerous conditions.
(2) Provide a safe alternate place for recess activities; provide those who must be outside with frequent breaks, shade and water.
(3) Encourage people to drink plenty of water; make it easily accessible. Allow students more frequent water breaks and water bottles in the classroom.
(4) Break into activity schedules gradually over a period of a few weeks to allow people who are not used to the heat to become more acclimated. Monitor their physical status frequently, using the chart “Heat Syndrome” to make assessments.
(5) Discourage caffeinated beverages as fluid replacement — these pull water away from the cells and actually promote dehydration (alcohol and high “sugar” drinks do the same).
(6) Make announcements each morning to keep people aware of advisories and any directions to follow. Use the attached “DISD Guidelines” for help in decision-making.
DISD Guidelines for Heat Advisory/Air Quality Issues Affecting Outdoor Student Activities * **(see end of sheet)
1) Outdoor student activities will be cancelled if a HEAT ADVISORY (temperature/humidity index – THI – of 105º or more) has been issued or for “red” or “purple”
AIRPOLLUTION WARNINGS. These advisories are broadcast on TV and radio weather reports, and each principal and building supervisor will be notified by e-mail from the director of health services of any heat or pollution advisories. The principal will inform campus faculty/staff of alerts, restrictions, and necessary precautions as early in the day as possible. The DISD website will also carry the advisories. Be sure to differentiate “watches” from “warnings.” We will activate the guidelines for warnings at all campuses; these usually occur in the afternoon. Please note the exceptions below, and, at their discretion, principals always have the option to activate the guidelines prior to warning status.
2) Outdoor student activities will be modified for temperatures and/or THI of 100º - 104º and on “yellow” or “orange” air pollution days. This modification will include restrictions in exposure duration and in intensity of activity. Students should have access to water at all times and be monitored for signs and symptoms of heat syndrome or respiratory problems. Consider having the students (and faculty and staff) keep filled water bottles at hand to encourage adequate water intake. Sips at the water fountain will not be adequate for fluid replacement, nor are caffeinated or carbonated drinks. See the THI index chart for more specific statements regarding activity.Sun exposure is another safety consideration even at temperatures below 100º. Prevention precautions should be encouraged among all faculty/staff and students, including staying in shaded areas, wearing sunscreen (not provided by school), and hats/long sleeves. Charts are included for determining THI, risk factors, and prevention precautions.3) Principals have the option to cancel or limit outdoor activities for any other situation they deem unsafe. Notify the superintendent’s office of those situations when that option is exercised.
4) For any inclement weather conditions that occur after school is in session, a decision regarding a change from regular dismissal times will be made by the Executive Director of Operations, Director of Transportation, and Superintendent. Information to the campuses and to the public will be disseminated through all possible means, and campus principals will retain the responsibility for communicating to parents on their campuses the reasons for changes in dismissal time. More information on “Weather Closings” may be found in the Crisis Management Manual.
*Certain students, faculty, and staff, because of already existing conditions (risk factors) may need even more precautions taken. Consult with the school RN regarding individual concerns, and arrange for indoor recreation/activity sites for students who may not go outside (library, gym, etc.)**Secondary students who are being purposefully acclimatized to outside conditions for co-curricular activities/athletics will use separate guidelines from trainers, coaches and sponsors. All students will be carefully monitored and student safety will be the highest priority for all decisions.DISD Outdoor Activity Guidelines
for Air Pollution *Warnings
Remember that *warnings are issued when the actual risk is present (usually in late afternoon), watches are issued the day before, indicating the potential exists. **Please note “exceptions for athletics.”
GREEN . . . . . .No restrictions
YELLOW . . . . . . . . Modify* Activities for High-Risk Students
Students who have risk factors for heat-related or pollution-related illnesses such as asthma will be restricted in duration and intensity of outside activity. Students exhibiting symptoms of respiratory or heat-related illness will remain inside. Principal will make arrangements for indoor activity/recreation sites for students who will not be going outside (library, gym, cafeteria).
. . . . . .Cancel Outdoor Activities for High-Risk Students and Modify Activities for All Other Students ORANGE
Teachers/principal will arrange for high-risk students to have indoor activities during recess/PE. (Students actually having symptoms will be checked by the nurse.)
RED. . . . . . . . . .Cancel Outdoor Activities for All Students after
PURPLE . . . . . . . .Cancel Outdoor Activities for All Students during the school day
Exceptions for Athletics/Co-curricular Activities**Secondary students who are being purposefully acclimatized to outside conditions for co-curricular activities/athletics will use separate guidelines from trainers, coaches, and sponsors. All students will be carefully monitored and student safety will be the highest priority for all decisions. The high school trainers are skilled in prevention, the assessment, and interventions for heat syndrome, and are excellent resources for information.
Temperature Humidity Index (THI) Chart
Heat index (or apparent temperature) is how the heat and humidity in the air combine to make us feel. Higher humidity plus higher temperatures often combine to make us feel a perceived temperature that is higher than the actual air temperature. The old saying, "its not the heat, its the humidity" holds true. See the chart below showing various combinations of air temperature versus relative humidity to help you gauge for yourself.
Use the current temp and humidity from the screen above with the chart below
Heat Index Chart
% Relative Humidity
Fatigue is possible with prolonged exposure and/or physical activity.
Sunstroke, heat cramps and heat exhaustion are possible with prolonged exposure and/or physical activity.
Sunstroke, heat cramps and heat exhaustion are likely. Heat stroke is possible with prolonged exposure and/or physical activity.
Heatstroke/sunstroke is highly likely with continued exposure.
Above is a heat index (or apparent temperature) chart showing various combinations of air temperature versus relative humidity.
To use the chart, locate the air temperature along the left column and the relative humidity along the top. The cell where the two intersect is the heat index.
For example, an air temperature of 90 degrees Fahrenheit and a relative humidity of 60 percent intersect at a heat index of 100 degrees. In other words, the temperature would feel like 100 degrees with this humidity/temperature combination.
Heat index values were devised for shady light wind conditions. Exposure to full sunlight can increase values by up to 15 degrees Fahrenheit.
Heat Guidelines for Outside Activity
Temperature/THI of 100° - 104° … Modify outdoor activities for all students
Temperature/THI of 105° or more … Cancel outdoor activities for all students after and modify activities before
(Combination of factors … Use most restrictive guidelines)
Modified Activities - Intensity restrictions … no running or high level play
Duration restrictions…activities outdoors not to exceed
15 minutesAnother good resource to use is:Stay cool, safe, and healthy!