Preventing Heat-related Illness at Summer Camps
Children, especially those who are physically active, are among those individuals at higher-than-average risk for HRI. Between 2017 and 2021, a total of 848 children under the age of 15- years old were treated at New Jersey Emergency Departments for heat-related illness. High heat days can also cause poor air quality, which can trigger asthma attacks or worsen asthma symptoms.
WAYS TO PREVENT HEAT-RELATED ILLNESS AT CAMP
· Hydrate: Make sure campers drink water even if they don’t feel thirsty. Make cool water available near all athletic fields and activity areas.
· Play early. Play late: Schedule more strenuous outdoor activities in the cooler parts of the day when possible (early mornings for day camps or evenings for overnight camps).
· Get acclimatized: At sports camps or camps with a lot of physical activity, gradually increase physical activity over several days. Schedule rest periods in the shade and pool time to allow campers to recover.
· Stay in the shade: During midday, hold activities in shady areas or go indoors. Provide shaded areas for rest, quiet activities, and lunch.
· Adapt activities: On extremely hot days, try to adapt activities to focus on lower energy activities and/or water-based programs. Also consider indoor activities if air-conditioned spaces are available.
· Keep the rays away: Encourage campers to wear lightweight, loose, light-colored clothing. Encourage campers to apply sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher and reapply throughout the day.
For more information on preventing Heat-Related Illness at camps, visit: https://www.nj.gov/health/ceohs/phfpp/youthcamps/parents/index.shtml