Editorial: Beat the heat, do camp homeworkWhether it’s due to global warming or just another one of those extreme weather situations, the summer season has brought this area more 90-plus-degree temperatures than the yearly average, as well as thermometers hitting the 100-degree mark with regularity, humidity levels often high enough to be uncomfortable and more heat advisories issued than ever.
Whether it’s due to global warming or just another one of those extreme weather situations, the summer season has brought this area more 90-plus-degree temperatures than the yearly average, as well as thermometers hitting the 100-degree mark with regularity, humidity levels often high enough to be uncomfortable and more heat advisories issued than ever.
No one can adjust Mother Nature’s thermostat to always be to their liking, but there are measures which can be taken in response, either at home or away. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Minnesota Department of Health, have suggestions for protection from the excessive heat. They are:
—Drink more fluids than usual, but avoid fluids containing alcohol or large amounts of sugar. Check with a doctor if advised to limit the intake of fluids or placed on diuretics.
—Stay indoors—in an air-conditioned location, if possible. If a home isn’t air-conditioned, spending a few hours a day in an air-conditioned public place like a library or shopping mall will help the body cope with the heat.
—Don’t rely on electric fans. These fans won’t prevent heat-related illnesses when the temperature reaches the high 90s and above.
—Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
—Never leave people, children—or animals—in a closed, parked vehicle, even with the windows open.
—Check regularly on people who may be at higher risk of heat-related illness—infants and young children, people over 65, people with mental illness and people with chronic health problems like heart disease or high blood pressure.
—If spending time outdoors is a must, try to limit activity to the cooler hours of the day, in the morning and evening. Try to take rest breaks in shady areas and drink plenty of water.
—Limit physical exercise. When doing exercise, be sure to take in plenty of fluids.
—Taking a cool bath or shower can be an effective way to cool off.
—When outdoors, wear hats and use sunscreen for protection from the sun.
Signs of heat-related illnesses vary, but can include the following: heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea or vomiting, and fainting. Symptoms of heat stroke include an extremely high body temperature (above 103 degrees F); red, hot and dry skin; rapid breathing; racing heart rate; headache; nausea; confusion; and unconsciousness. If heat stroke is suspected, call 911 immediately.
Meantime, a scorching summer can be a reason for getting away from home, among others. In the case of children, a camp might be the desired destination. The Wisconsin Better Business Bureau has offered the following tips to parents searching for the right camp:
—Always visit the camp before submitting a deposit. Check its location and view the living, eating and recreational facilities. Ask about safety procedures (particularly for water activities, archery and out-of-camp trips), and access the quality and commitment of the staff.
—Ask about fees and payment deadlines. Is the deposit refundable? Are there extra charges for any activities? Are meals and transportation offered?
—What is the camper return rate? The counselor return rate?
—What is the camp director’s background? How is the staff trained? Are criminal checks made for employees and volunteers? What is the ratio of campers to staff members?
—Are medical facilities adequate? Is a nurse or doctor on site? What are the procedures for transporting injured or sick children to medical facilities? Are those facilities nearby?
—What are the safety rules and how are they enforced? Does the camp have appropriate insurance coverage?
—Are family visits or other communications with campers allowed? How is homesickness handled?
—Are references from parents of repeat campers available? Ask the parents about their child’s experience and why they recommend the camp.
—Look for camps that are certified by the American Camp Association.