Peel Health recommends the following steps to be taken to prevent heat related illness:
Establish a policy and plan to deal with extreme temperatures.
Keep children cool and if at all possible, stay in an air-conditioned place.
Limit time outdoors between 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. when temperatures and UV radiation are most intense. Offer regularly scheduled rest periods.
When outdoors, stay in the shade whenever possible (natural or artificial structures).
When in the sun cover up. Ensure children wear a wide brimmed hat, UV protective sunglasses, and light and loose fitting clothing.
Be sure children are well hydrated. Plain water is the liquid of choice; diluted fruit juice is okay.
Check regularly on infants and young children to be sure they stay cool and hydrated.
Sunscreens/insect repellent are not recommended for infants under six months of age. Keep babies under one year of age out of direct sunlight.
Apply sunscreen (SPF 15 or higher) 20-30 minutes before going outside to ensure absorption.
When using DEET insect repellent, apply 20-30 minutes after sunscreen has been applied.
NEVER leave children in a closed parked vehicle.
Monitor children with disabilities and check the heat on metal and vinyl parts of wheelchairs.
Check heat of metal slides, monkey bars etc. in playground areas.
Staff should role model appropriate heat and sun safety behaviours for children.
Staff should be aware of signs and symptoms of heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. Follow first aid procedures promptly.
During a Heat Alert
Keep children cool
Keep children hydrated
Monitor children closely
Follow the General Guidelines AND
Activate policies and plans to deal with extreme temperatures.
Suspend all outdoor activity if possible, or limit time spent outdoors. Where possible keep children in an air-conditioned place.
Check frequently on children and monitor those in wheelchairs more closely.
Keep children well hydrated by giving water and diluted fruit juices frequently.
Provide parents with information on how to keep children cool and provide the Region of Peel’s website for additional information.
During an Extreme Heat Alert
Follow Heat Alert Guidelines AND
Consider cancelling outdoor activity and keeping children indoors. If at all possible, stay in an air-conditioned place or go to the shopping mall, library, recreational facilities or heat-relief shelters.
Heat Illness Signs and Treatment
Sunburn: redness, pain, swelling of skin, blisters, fever and headaches.
leave water blisters intact to speed healing and avoid infection. If breaking of blister occurs, apply dry sterile dressing. Serious cases should be seen by a physician.
Heat Cramps: heavy sweating can cause painful muscle spasms usually in the legs but possible in the abdomen
apply firm pressure on cramping muscles or gently massage to relieve spasm; give sips of water, if nausea occurs discontinue sips of water, move person to a cooler place to rest in a comfortable position. Observe the person carefully for changes in condition.
Heat Exhaustion: heavy sweating, weakness, cold, pale and clammy skin; weak pulse, fainting and vomiting, core temperature usually 38.8 Celsius or higher, but normal temperature is possible.
get person out of sun, move person to a cooler environment, lay person down and loosen clothing, apply cool wet cloths, give sips of water. If nausea occurs, discontinue sips of water; if vomiting continues, seek immediate medical attention.
Heatstroke: severe medical emergency, high body temperature (41 degrees Celsius or higher), hot, dry skin, rapid and strong pulse, possible unconsciousness
Call 911, if unable to get person to medical help immediately, do the following:
Move person to a cooler environment
Remove outer clothing
Reduce body temperature using lukewarm (not cold) water to bathe/sponge the person