Prevention of heat stroke in school-going children

Divya Marwaha
3 to 7 years

Created by Divya Marwaha
Updated on Sep 21, 2018

Prevention of heat stroke in school going children

Summer is the most testing weather, particularly for school going children, who come back from school in the sweltering afternoon hours, when the scorching sun is overhead. And nothing hurts a mother more than seeing their hot, flushed faces and perspiration drenched clothes, leave alone the fear of heat generated ailments that children might fall prey to. For instance, heavy sweating may lead to dehydration, or other problems such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke may surface, the latter being a potentially life-threatening condition. Though children are always uneasy when they commute from school to home in the afternoon heat, parents need to be aware of symptoms of heat stroke, as it requires immediate medical attention.

When the weather is very hot and humid, the natural cooling mechanism of the body fails and the body temperature goes up to dangerous levels, resulting in heat exhaustion and in extreme conditions, heat stroke. It can be caused by strenuous physical exercise or just being outdoors, because the body experiences excessive loss of fluids and salts with perspiration. During heat stroke, the body temperature is elevated up to 104 F and the blood supply to brain is impaired. The following symptoms may be visible and must not be overlooked at all:
1. High body temperature (about 104 F)
2. Rapid pulse and heartbeat
3. Nausea and vomiting
4. Dizziness, disorientation and headache
5. Fatigue and breathlessness
6. Muscle cramps and pain
7. Hot, dry skin and absence of sweat
This condition deteriorates very rapidly and requires a timely action, otherwise the child may lose consciousness. One should seek immediate medical assistance in such a case.
Prevention is better than cure
As it is quoted, prevention is indeed better than cure, particularly when it comes to small children. Heat stroke can have very serious consequences, which makes it very important for parents to realize the gravity of taking preventive measures to avoid its occurrence. Some of these are as follows:
1. The best preventive measure of heat stroke is keeping the child indoors, particularly during the peak hours, which is noon to 4 PM. Parents need to get together and discuss with school authorities about re-adjusting the school timings, particularly in very hot days and for very small children. The school may start earlier in the morning so that children can reach home before excessive afternoon heat wave sets in.
2. Teach the children about the importance of keeping themselves hydrated. Give them an extra water bottle with a homemade energy drink, prepared by adding lemon juice, salt and sugar to water. Tell them to keep having small sips of both water and this drink throughout the day and most importantly, on their way back from school, too.
3. Give them a wide-brimmed hat or bandana to cover their heads when they are outdoors. The head is particularly susceptible to suffer from heat stroke. Apply sunscreen on uncovered areas of the body to avoid sunburn.
4. Ensure that the children are not involved in vigorous and outdoor physical activities in school, as it may cause them to be dehydrated due to excessive sweating.
5. Ask the van drivers to park the vans in shady areas so that the inside temperatures do not become too high. Also, make sure that the windows are not completely shut as it can hamper circulation of air.
6. In case the child seems to have symptoms of heat stroke, call a doctor immediately. You can give some first aid, such as taking the child in a cool room, removing the clothes, sponging the forehead and body with cold water and giving him ORS or some natural energy drink. Avoid caffeinated drinks, tea or coffee.
Home remedies for heat stroke
There are some simple home remedies that can protect your school going children from heat stroke. These are:
1. Hydration is the key to combating heat stroke. Plain water, fruit and vegetable juices, sherbets, glucose and lemonade not only prevent heat stroke, but are also nutritious and energy giving. Also give them plenty of water-rich fruits and vegetables such as water-melons, melons, cucumbers and lettuce.
2. Coriander juice or coriander-mint chutney is an effective home remedy for heat stroke.
3. Massage coconut oil in the scalp in case of high body temperature.
4. Coconut water and tamarind juice are other drinks helpful for combating heat stroke.
5. Onion juice can be applied at the back of the ears to alleviate the symptoms of heat stroke. Onion salad is beneficial too.
6. Soak some ripe plums in water for 3-4 hours and mash them in the water. Drain the mixture and serve it to the child when he comes home.
7. Prepare buttermilk by mixing 2 tablespoons of fresh curd in a glass of water and adding a pinch of black salt and powdered cumin seeds and blending them together. Serve it twice a day.
8. Mango panna and thandai are traditional drinks used to protect against heat stroke.

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| Apr 27, 2015

Thanks. This is very useful info. This will definitely help us.

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| Apr 21, 2015

Thanks alot for sharing such an important thing . I think this is every mother's want to learn for their children.

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