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Outdoor Summer Camps Take Extra Precautions in Extreme Heat

On the second day of summer camp at HV Sports Camp, counselors are taking extra precautions in the extreme heat.

“We have a big, huge indoor facility we are rotating kids in and out of all day long. Making sure they’re not out in the sun too long,” said camp director Brad Greenspan.

“If a kid is looking really red in the face, or their energy seems lower than normal, or if they’re sweating a lot particularly, we have an athletic trainer here we can always go to,” Greenspan continued.

The camp has an extra large water cooler on hand, misters for cooling off and multiple tents set up for shade. There’s also a sunscreen station where campers can reapply.

“Tons of water,” said participant Gabe Price of how he’s handling the temperatures. “Sometimes I dump it on myself. Just tons of water.”

Hydration is key to avoiding heat exhaustion, according to local physician Kush Desai.

“Lethargy and fatigue, feeling nauseous, not feeling hungry, not even wanting to drink water can [all be] signs of getting close to heat exhaustion,” said Dr. Desai, who practices at Rush Oak Park Hospital.

“Heat exhaustion can be mediated by getting into a cool, shaded space and getting in as much fluid as possible,” said Dr. Desai.

Heat exhaustion is accompanied by dehydration, and if left untreated can progress into more serious heat stroke, which can be life threatening.

“The main thing is confusion. If the person or child seems completely out of it, almost unresponsive, delirious, these are signs the patient might start getting into the heat stroke region rather than just exhaustion,” said Dr. Desai.

Campers at Sean Phillips’ soccer day camp are taking advantage of the many trees on UIC’s campus, taking cover in the shade for “soccer tennis” and trivia.

“Our plan is to manage the amount of time out in the sun [and] in the shade,” said Phillips, the head men’s soccer coach at UIC.

He has been working with kids at this camp for more than 16 years and ensures his staff are familiar with heat guidelines. There’s also a trainer on hand acting as an extra set of eyes looking for warning signs.

“We were able to put the kids in an air conditioned classroom for lunch today, so they really got a good break from the sun,” he said.

Doctors say kids should dress for the heat by wearing loose-fitting, light-colored clothing that is moisture wicking, instead of heavy cotton.