Ways to avoid heat related illness
Published Friday, July 19, 2019 4:44PM EDT
Heat Warning: Friday, July 19, 2019
Issued: Friday, July 19, 2019
Heat Warning for the following areas:
With hot, humid weather in the forecast for the next few days, Environment and Climate Change Canada has issued a Heat Warning for areas within Public Health Sudbury & Districts’ service area beginning Friday, July 19, 2019. Heat Warnings are issued by Environment and Climate Change Canada when the forecast rises for two days to 29 degrees Celsius or above during the day and 18 degrees Celsius or above at night or the humidex is 36 or above.
Continuous exposure to high levels of heat can lead to dehydration and illnesses such as heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat fainting, heat edema (swelling of hands, feet and ankles), heat rash, heat cramps (muscle cramps), and even death. People who are most at risk include, older adults, infants and young children, pregnant women, people with chronic illnesses, people who are homeless, people who use alcohol or illicit drugs, and those who work or exercise in the heat. Those who take medications or have a health condition should consult their doctor or pharmacist to determine if they are at increased risk from the heat and follow their recommendations.
“Although some individuals are at higher risk, anyone can suffer from heat-related illnesses,” said Burgess Hawkins, a manager with Public Health Sudbury & Districts’ Environmental Health Division. “Everyone should take precautions.”
Tips to prevent heat-related illness:
- Frequently visit neighbours, friends, and older family members, especially those who are chronically ill, to make sure that they are cool and hydrated.
- Drink plenty of cool liquids, especially water, before you feel thirsty to decrease your risk of dehydration. Thirst is not a good indicator of dehydration.
- Babies under 6 months of age do not need extra water in hot weather; however, you might need to feed them more often. Follow your baby’s feeding cues. Encourage babies over 6 months and children to drink frequently. Offer the breast or if not breastfeeding, offer water.
- Reschedule or plan outdoor activities during cooler parts of the day.
- Wear loose-fitting, light-coloured clothing made of breathable fabric.
- Never leave people or pets in your care inside a parked vehicle or in direct sunlight—even if the windows are down.
- Take a break from the heat by spending a few hours in a cool place, for example, in a tree-shaded area, swimming facility, or an air-conditioned public building such as a shopping mall, grocery store, place of worship, public library, or home of a family member or friend.
- Take a cool bath or shower periodically, or cool down with cool, wet towels.
- Prepare meals that do not need to be cooked in your oven.
- Block sun out by closing awnings, curtains, or blinds during the day.
- Avoid sun exposure. Shade yourself by wearing a wide-brimmed, breathable hat or using an umbrella.
Know the signs and symptoms of heat-related illness. They include dizziness or fainting, nausea or vomiting, headache, rapid breathing and heartbeat, extreme thirst, and decreased urination with unusually dark yellow urine. If you or someone in your care experiences these symptoms, contact a health care professional, friend, or family member for help. In emergencies, call 911.
Public Health Sudbury & Districts offers information on beating the heat in apartment buildings, keeping your pets safe, doing outdoor activities in heat and smog, and keeping your children safe during hot weather.
Call Public Health Sudbury & Districts at 705.522.9200, ext. 464 (toll-free 1.866.522.9200) or visit phsd.ca for more information.