Mother blames hot classrooms for daughter's headaches

Mother blames hot classrooms for daughter's headaches
Published: Aug. 5, 2015 at 8:53 PM HST|Updated: Aug. 5, 2015 at 10:40 PM HST
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Raquel Toribio
Raquel Toribio

EWA BEACH, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Raquel Toribio's seventh-grader goes to Ilima Intermediate, one of Hawaii's hottest public school campuses.

"When I went there and I met with the principal, I was sweating with a tank top on because it's too hot," she said.

With no AC, classroom temperatures can hit 100 degrees. Toribio's daughter has been coming home with headaches.

"It's a health problem for the kids," Toribio said.

Kaiser Permanente pediatrician Michael Hamilton said prolonged exposure to high heat can dehydrate the body, and trigger headaches and nausea.

"It can even lead to things like heat exhaustion, ultimately even on to heat stroke, which would be a very bad thing," he said.

The Department of Education is surveying Ilima for its heat abatement study. The survey measures areas that contribute to overheating like placement of windows and doors, arrangement of desks, even what students wear.      
"They have uniforms," Toribio said. "It's below the knees pants, jeans and tee shirts, so they're sweating in school."

Hamilton said younger children are more susceptible to heat exhaustion than older kids.  He said school staff and parents should know the signs and what to do to cool them down.

"Push the fluids, really get them re-hydrated," he said.

Toribio wrote a letter to the DOE and the Health Department, telling them how she thinks the heat is hurting her child. Ilima is near the top of the DOE's list for needing cooler classrooms.

To bring down temperatures indoors, the DOE will paint roofs with material that reflects rather than absorbs heat, and classrooms will be vented overnight to flush out hot air.

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