Last week as temperatures were climbing into the high 90s and the heat index was at or over 100, Logan County schools superintendent Dr. Kevin Hub made sure that his students and bus drivers had a bit of relief.
On Thursday, Hub and other members of the central office staff delivered bottles of waters to each of the schools in the district, which were then chilled and given out to those that would be riding the buses in the extreme heat.
“I think it’s important to recognize that it’s hot and we do not have air conditioning on our school buses,” Hub said. “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.”
Hub said that the gesture was appreciated by both the staff and students.
“It was a proactive step, rather than a reactionary one,” Hub said. “We hadn’t received any phone calls, we just wanted to get out in front of it and I think we did.”
Hub, who is in his first year as Logan County schools superintendent, said he was advised to hand out water by his superintendent mentor, Jim Flynn of Simpson County.
“That’s just a way of showing how all the superintendents work together to do what’s best for students,” Hub said.
With temperatures still expected to be high this week, it is important to know some of the best ways to defend against heat stroke.
The best defense is prevention. Here are some prevention tips:
- Drink more fluids (nonalcoholic), regardless of your activity level. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. Warning: If your doctor generally limits the amount of fluid you drink or has you on water pills, ask him how much you should drink while the weather is hot.
- Don’t drink liquids that contain alcohol or large amounts of sugar–these actually cause you to lose more body fluid. Also, avoid very cold drinks, because they can cause stomach cramps.
- Stay indoors and, if at all possible, stay in an air-conditioned place. If your home does not have air conditioning, go to the shopping mall or public library–even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat. Call your local health department to see if there are any heat-relief shelters in your area.
- Electric fans may provide comfort, but when the temperature is in the high 90s, fans will not prevent heat-related illness. Taking a cool shower or bath, or moving to an air-conditioned place is a much better way to cool off.
- Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
- NEVER leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle.
Although any one at any time can suffer from heat-related illness, some people are at greater risk than others. Check regularly on:
- Infants and young children
- People aged 65 or older
- People who have a mental illness
- Those who are physically ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure
Visit adults at risk at least twice a day and closely watch them for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Infants and young children, of course, need much more frequent watching.
If you must be out in the heat:
- Limit your outdoor activity to morning and evening hours.
- Cut down on exercise. If you must exercise, drink two to four glasses of cool, nonalcoholic fluids each hour. A sports beverage can replace the salt and minerals you lose in sweat. Warning: If you are on a low-salt diet, talk with your doctor before drinking a sports beverage. Remember the warning in the first “tip” (above), too.
- Try to rest often in shady areas.
- Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat (also keeps you cooler) and sunglasses and by putting on sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher (the most effective products say “broad spectrum” or “UVA/UVB protection” on their labels).