WITH SIX regions on an orange weather alert for extreme temperatures, a Madrid health official has suggested schoolchildren should make paper fans to combat the heat.
Jesús Sánchez Martos said he is not a supporter of air conditioning in schools, and suggested that children should make fans out of paper to deal with the heat in their classrooms.
Besides helping feel cooler, this activity could be part of “a very relevant occupational therapy for children, making [the fans] the way we used to when I was a kid: fold, fold, fold and there’s the fan,” said the regional official in statements to SER radio station. “Air conditioning is not the solution for everything.”
“Classrooms could be ventilated,” he added, expressing a preference for “keeping hydrated, always having water in the classrooms.”
The statements came on the same day that the Madrid health department activated a special plan to prevent negative health effects from the high temperatures recorded in the region and elsewhere in Spain, over the last few days.
On Wednesday, there were several reports of Spanish school children suffering from bouts of vomiting, heatstroke and fainting.
In the meantime, four days of “unusually high temperatures” are now giving way to an official heat wave, according to the Spanish weather service, AEMET.
The meteorology agency said that the weather event will last at least into Sunday, and mostly affect central and southwestern Spain.
Highs will reach 40 to 42ºC in many parts of the country, while lows will not drop below 22 to 25ºC at night.
The AEMET weather agency has issued weather alerts in 30 provinces, including Alicante and Murcia.
Spain’s Ministry of Health has issued the following guidelines to deal with conditions of exceptional heat.
Drink plenty of water throughout the day and avoid sugary drinks, caffeine and alcohol: they cause the body to lose water.
Take special care with babies, small children, the elderly, and people with illnesses such as heart problems that can be adversely affected by heat and dehydration.
Stay in cool places, the shade or air-conditioned spaces for as much time as possible and cool down frequently if out in the sun.
Avoid physical activity and outdoors sports and activities in the middle of the day.
Wear lightweight clothing that breathes.
Do not leave anybody in locked, parked vehicles, particularly children and the elderly, as well as pets.
Consult your doctor in case of symptoms that last more than one hour and that could be caused by high temperatures.
Keep medicines in a cool place: heat can affect their composition and their effect.
Eat light food that helps replace salts lost through perspiration: salads, fruit, greens, juices, etc