SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Children have started to go back to school in western Massachusetts and right in the middle of a heat wave.
“They’re going to be out running and playing and ignoring those signals that they’re thirsty, that they’re hot, that they’re tired and they’re going to try to play through all that. That’s going to put them at risk,” said Baystate Health Pediatrics Chief Dr. John O’Reilly.
As many children around the nation go back to school during current heat waves, schools are dealing with challenges when it comes to playing outside and in hot classrooms.
The biggest piece of advice from Dr. O’Reilly, “First, I think is to keep our children hydrated. sweating is our body’s main way to cool down and we need to be well hydrated to sweat enough.”
Also send students to school in light weight, loose fitting, wicking clothing that allows heat and sweat to evaporate easily. A hat with a brim to protect their face is recommended and of course a water bottle.
On the school’s end, they can limit recess time outdoors to avoid students spending too much time in the heat, encourage sipping water and teach students warning signs of heat exhaustion. The risk continues even after school with children on school buses.
“Those kids should get on the bus with a big water bottle, you might want to put that kid with a cool cloth, some sort of baggie, so when they start to feel hot they can get their face, they can get their underarm,” said Dr. O’Reilly.
Look for warning signs like cramping and looking flush. Obese children are at an increased risk due to difficulty releasing body heat. Dr. O’Reilly says watch for children who are hot but not sweating and confused. Get those children inside and medical attention immediately.