For Immediate Release
June 28, 2001
Dr. David McKeown
Medical Officer of Health
Region of Peel
905-791-7800, Ext. 2215
School Break and Extreme Heat Dangerous Combination
(Brampton) - Pre-school and school-age children now enjoying the freedom of summer break are highly susceptible to the extremely hot and humid weather conditions currently present in the Greater Toronto area.
Parents and caregivers should take simple precautions to help reduce their child's risk of heat stroke and exhaustion, dehydration, elevated body temperatures and significantly increased heart rates during outdoor activity.
"Now that the school break has arrived, parents and caregivers should make heat and sun safety a top priority for their children and themselves," said Dr. David McKeown, Medical Officer of Health for the Region of Peel. "Compared to adults, children perspire less, gain more heat from the environment and produce more heat when physically active."
Tips to reduce the risk of heat- and sun-related health problems for children and adults include:
- Slow down or avoid energetic activity during the hottest and sunniest parts of the day. Plan outdoor activity for early morning or late afternoon and evening.
- Drink plenty of fluids BEFORE you feel thirsty and be sure to continue to drink AFTER your activity. Your sense of thirst is reduced during physical activity and dehydration can result.
- Fluids that contain small amounts of sugar and salt are especially effective in the prevention of dehydration in children. Commercially available sports drinks contain these critical elements.
- Wear loose fitting, light coloured clothes made from materials that will allow perspiration to evaporate. Covering your skin will also protect it from the sun.
- Take plenty of breaks and rest in shady areas. This will allow your body temperature to cool.
- Avoid beverages that contain caffeine, such as iced tea and cola soft drinks.
- If you must be outside, wear sunglasses, a hat and a sunscreen with an SPF #15 or higher.
Symptoms of heat-related illness include rapid breathing, confusion, headache, weakness or fainting and increased tiredness or fatigue. If any of these symptoms occur, move the affected person to a cooler location, remove their excess clothing, sponge or bathe them with lukewarm water and give them sips of cool, not ice-cold, water.
If you feel faint, have difficulty breathing or feel confused and disoriented, call your doctor. In an emergency, call 911.
For more information on the prevention of heat-related health problems, call Health Line Peel at 905-799-7700.
Communication Services, 10 Peel Centre Dr., Brampton, ON L6T 4B9
Phone: 905-791-7800, Fax: 905-791-0595 , e-mail
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