• School Health Department
    Decatur Public Schools


    Guidelines for Prevention of Heat Related Illness in Schools

    As Recommended by the Illinois Department of Public Health


    • All heat-related illnesses are preventable: Take steps to protect students and yourself!

    • Some medications cause special heat-related problems: diuretics, heart medicines, diabetes medicines, antidepressants, mood-altering drugs, antihistamines, and anti-hypertensive drugs.

    • Young children and persons recovering from recent illness have impaired thermoregulatory ability. Persons who suffered any prior heat related illness are also at high risk.  Be alert for rapid onset of heat exhaustion, heat stroke.

    • Heat index values are devised for shady, light wind conditions. Exposure to full sunshine or strong winds can increase these values by up to 15 degrees F.


    Reduce All Activity

    • Restrict both inside and outside activity to prevent overheating.If an activity is required, provide frequent rest breaks in cool.
    • Curtail all outside PE when the heat index approaches 95 degrees.
    • Eliminate or postpone activities such as running until weather conditions improve.
    • Provide regularly scheduled rest periods for students and staff participating in any physical activities.
    • Recall that a person’s physical response to elevated temperatures is individual and based upon current health status and past experience with overheating. Students and staff who have encountered high temperatures this summer, or in prior years, will have additional difficulties functioning in the heat.


    Provide Frequent Water Breaks


    • Encourage students and staff to take frequent water breaks; allow water bottles in classrooms.
    • Avoid liquids containing caffeine or large amounts of sugar, which result in increased body fluid loss.
    • Avoid very cold drinks, which can cause stomach cramps.
    • Insist that everyone drink water frequently during the day.Do not wait until thirst develops!  Because both children and adults may not show early signs of dehydration, their risks of illness increase.


    Dress Appropriately


    • Provide students with lighter clothing or contact families re: change of clothes.
    • Encourage staff and students to dress in light, loose-fitting clothing.



    Heat Cramps Heat Exhaustion  HEATSTROKE 
    • Muscle Cramps
    • Sweating
    (associated with strenuous exercise, perspiration, and copious intake of plain water)
    • Cool, Moist, Pale, or Flushed Skin
    • Heavy Sweating
    • Headache
    • Abdominal Cramps
    • Shallow Breathing
    • Dizziness
    • Exhaustion
    • Fatigue
    • Near Normal Temperature
    • Sudden Hot, Red, Dry Skin
    • Throbbing Headache
    • Nausea
    • Rapid Pulse
    • Weakness|
    • Confusion
    • Irritability
    • Elevated Temperature
    Move to Cooler Place Move to Cooler Place Call 911- EMERGENCY!
    Give 1/2 Glass Water
    Every 15 Min.
    Give 1/2 Glass Water
    Every 15 Min.
    DO NOT Give Water
    NO Exercise for 12 Hours Send Home/Observe Apply Cold Packs