In the wake of the recent wave of high environmental temperature in different parts of the country, the National Institute of Health (NIH) has issued an advisory to take necessary measures for educational institutes.
According to NIH, the objective of this advisory is to sensitize relevant educational institutes to take in time appropriate actions for preparedness, response and prevention to the events or incidents of heatstroke in their respective areas.
The advisory provides recommendations for educational institutions or schools on actions to mitigate the effect of extreme heat on students to reduce the frequency of heat-related illness and to support schools to prepare for and manage risks associated with extreme hot weather or heat wave.
The advisory said that children and young people are more susceptible to heat stress and therefore schools must have measures in place to prepare for and manage the risks associated with extreme hot weather.
Moreover, advisory emphasis various actions that school can take to help protect students from heat-related illness including use of artificial shading (canopies, tents, sails, umbrellas) to shade outdoor play spaces.
Schools have been asked to prevent students from heat exposure by keeping them in a cooled indoor environment which is the most effective way of preventing heat-associated illness, utilizing the indoor space for activities during extreme heat is an ideal way to protect students.
The advisory asked to avoid materials and surfaces that radiate high amounts of thermal heat and use natural surfaces as much as possible where allowed and if a surface has to be used for the safety of children, make sure it is shaded.
The NIH asked to increase the number of water coolers as increased access to drinking water can help encourage student behaviors to stay hydrated besides ensuring electric fans are in working condition.
The advisory suggested the practice of acclimatization as during the acclimatization period, changes occur as the body adapts to the stress of repeated exposure to heat. There is a strong evidence base that acclimatization can reduce heat-injuries.