Summer Heat Safety at Your School
Symptoms, Response & Prevention of Heat Related Injuries
Yesterday we talked about summer fire safety in different places such as schools, homes, or place of worship events. Today we’re going to continue our summer safety tips discussion by talking about summer heat safety, particularly in school settings. There are two very critical things you need to know: symptoms of heat exhaustion and stroke and how to respond. We’ll also provide you with some best practices for reducing heat related injuries this summer at your school.
First, you must know what the symptoms of heat exhaustion and stroke are. The Mayo Clinic explain the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion as:
- Cool, moist skin with goose bumps when in the heat
- Heavy sweating
- Weak, rapid pulse
- Low blood pressure upon standing
- Muscle cramps
One or more symptoms may be present when experiencing heat exhaustion, and children may not notice these as symptoms when on the playground or during P.E., so watch all children carefully and take seriously any complaints they may have about being hot. Heat strokes should also be planned for and have similar symptoms that are typically more severe and include confusion, fainting, seizures, and a very high body temperature.
If a child or adult starts experiencing symptoms of heat exhaustion at your school, immediately stop all activity and rest. The school nurse should be contacted to take the student or staff to a cool place and they should be given water or a sports drink to hydrate and replenish vital nutrients. The emergency contact should always be contacted to inform them of an issue, or to have the victim picked up and seen by a healthcare provider, depending on the severity. If a heat stroke occurs, immediately dial 9-1-1 and begin responding as if it were heat exhaustion, moving them to a cooler place and reducing their body temperature with ice packs and cool water.
Finally, it is important to know how to prevent these situations from happening while still enjoying the sunshine. When students and staff are outside for an extended period of time, practice summer heat safety by having ample ice water available with plenty of cups for students to hydrate as needed. Those with heavy clothing should be advised to not participate or should change their clothes. If going outside for P.E. or another physical activity, try to be in a shaded area that is cooler and out of direct sunlight. If a child expresses tiredness or headache, allow them to sit in a shaded area with water.
Heat exhaustion and heat strokes are serious medical emergencies and should be treated as such. Prevention is key, but if you find yourself, another staff member, or a student experiencing any of these symptoms, get medical attention immediately to avoid a more serious medical emergency. Use these summer heat safety tips to prepare for and respond to heat exhaustion or stroke at your school this summer.