Logan Co. schools work to keep kids and bus drivers hydrated during hot, humid days; here are tips for dealing with heat

With temperatures soaring into the high 90s and the heat index over 100, the new Logan County school superintendent made sure the students and bus drivers were well hydrated last week, O.J. Stapleton reports for the Russellville News Democrat & Leader.

Dr. Kevin Hub and other members of the central office staff delivered bottled water to all schools for students who would be riding buses in the extreme heat, Stapleton writes.

“I think it’s important to recognize that it’s hot and we do not have air conditioning on our school buses,” Hub told Stapleton. “That makes it hard on our drivers and students. This just falls under the category of ‘a good thing to do’ when it comes to taking care of our students and staff.” He said the gesture was appreciated by both the staff and students.

Signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, are heavy sweating; weakness; cold pale clammy skin; fast, weak pulse; nausea or vomiting; and fainting. The CDC suggests that if someone has these symptoms they should be moved to a cooler location, lie down and loosen their clothing, apply wet, cool cloths to as much of the body as possible, be offered sips of water and seek medical attention immediately vomiting occurs and continues.

The CDC reports the signs and symptoms of heat stroke, a much more serious condition, as: body temperatures above 103 degree Fahrenheit; hot, red, dry or moist skin; rapid and strong pulse; and possible unconsciousness. These symptoms require immediate medical attention. Call 911 immediately, move the person to a cooler environment, reduce the person’s body temperature with cool cloths or even a bath and do NOT give fluids.

Prevention is the best way to avoid these heat-related illnesses, Stapleton reports. He offers some suggestions below on how to protect yourself during these extreme temperatures.

Here are some suggestions to prevent heat stroke:

  • Drink more fluids, regardless of your activity level.
  • Avoid alcoholic beverages and high-sugar beverages as they can cause you to lose more body fluid.
  • Don’t wait until you are thirsty to drink.
  • Seek the advice of your doctor if you have fluid restrictions or are on water pills.
  • Avoid very cold drinks as they can cause stomach cramps.
  • Stay indoors in an air-conditioned place if possible.
  • Go to the mall or the library for some air-conditioned relief if you do not have home access.
  • Seek a heat-relief shelter in your area. Contact your local health department for information.
  • Fans do not prevent heat-related illness when the temperatures are in the high 90s.
  • Take a cool shower or bath.
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothes.
  • NEVER leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle.
Every person is at risk of heat-related illnesses in these extreme temperatures, but some people are at greater risk and need to be checked on regularly, Stapleton writes. High risk adults should be checked on at least twice daily and monitored for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Infants and children need more frequent watching.
Those at high risk of heat-related illness are:
  • Infants and young children
  • People aged 65 or older
  • People who are ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure.

Some advice for being outdoors in the heat:

  • Limit your outdoor activities to the morning and evening hours.
  • Minimize your outdoor exercise.
  • Drink two to four glasses of cool, non-alcoholic fluids each hour if you exercise.
  • Drink sports beverages to replace the salt and minerals you lose in sweat. Consult your doctor about the use of sports drinks if you are on a low-salt diet.
  • Rest often in shady areas.
  • Wear a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen.
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