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Beat the Heat: School Summer Safety Tips

Image courtesy of Children’s Ministry Magazine

School is out but the heat is in! As we head outdoors for fun summer activities from picnics to swimming, the CDC reminds us to stay cool, stay hydrated, and stay informed:

  • Wear appropriate clothing – Choose items that are lightweight, light colored and loose fitting.
  • Schedule outdoor activities carefully – Try to limit outdoor activities to morning and evening hours when temperatures are coolest. Rest often in shaded areas to let your body recover. School administrators scheduling activities should plan accordingly.
  • Pace yourself – Cut down on exercise during the heat. If you don’t usually work out or exercise in a hot environment, start slowly and pick up the pace very gradually. Take frequent breaks in the shade or indoors where there is air conditioning.
  • Wear sunscreen – Sunburn affects the body’s ability to cool down and can cause dehydration. Take extra steps for defense such as wearing sunglasses with UV protection and a wide brimmed hat to cover your face. Apply sunscreen with a high SPF prior to going outside and continue to reapply based on the bottle’s instructions.
  • Stay hydrated – Drink plenty of fluids regardless of activity and don’t wait until you are thirsty to drink. Avoid drinks that are too sugary or contain alcohol, water is best. It is especially important for children outside at summer camps all day to stay hydrated. Take frequent water breaks during activities.
  • Monitor those at high risk – Anyone can suffer from heat-related illness, but some are a greater risk than others: infants and children, people 65 years of age and older, people who are overweight, people who overexert during work or exercise, people who are physically ill (especially with heart disease or high blood pressure).
  • Know the Signs – Learn the signs and symptoms of heat related illness and how to treat them. School nurses should be familiar with these symptoms and act accordingly.
  • Look before you lock – NEVER leave children or pets in the car, even if it is only for a moment and the windows are cracked open. A seemingly cool car can reach dangerous temperatures in a matter of mere minutes. The below video, courtesy of General Motors and San Francisco State University, illustrates how alarmingly fast a car can reach a deadly temperature.

Preseason practices for many sports such as football begin during the summer. It is vital to be extra cautious:

  • Coaches – schedule workouts and practices earlier or later in the day when the temperature is cooler (10 a.m. – 4 p.m. is usually when the sun is hottest)
  • Pace activity. Start activities slow and pick up the pace gradually.
  • Drink more water than usual and don’s wait to do so until you are thirsty. Muscle cramping may be an early sign of heat-related illness.
Image courtesy of the CDC

The pool is a wonderful place to cool off during hot summer days. The CDC shares easy steps to follow for protecting yourself and others while swimming, relevant to everyone from pool lifeguards, parents, camp counselors and more.

 

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About the Author:Catherine Wardach