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Public Service Announcement

Summer heats up: Enjoy, but know your limits

Jul 17, 2015
SIMCOE MUSKOKA - Environment Canada has issued a heat warning for the weekend. While people may look forward to a hot spell, some care needs to be taken to avoid overheating or dehydrating.

SIMCOE MUSKOKA - Environment Canada has issued a heat warning for the weekend. While people may look forward to a hot spell, some care needs to be taken to avoid overheating or dehydrating.

Our bodies are used to the cooler weather of the last few months, and they may not respond as readily to the rise in the temperature.

This will be especially true for people who are more vulnerable to overheating. This includes

  • older adults;
  • infants and young children;
  • people with chronic illnesses, such as breathing difficulties, heart conditions, or psychiatric illnesses;
  • people who work in the heat;
  • people who exercise in the heat;
  • homeless people; and
  • people who don’t have access to cooling.

While you’re outside with family or friends, keep these pointers in mind.

  • Drink plenty of cool liquids. If you top up before you’re thirsty, it prevents your body from dehydrating. Water or pure fruit juices are best choices.
  • Dress for the weather. Clothing that’s loose-fitting, light-coloured and made from breathable fabric will help keep your body cool.
  • Avoid too much sun. That sunlight may feel wonderful, but a tan or a burn is a sign of sun damage that can lead to skin cancer. Wear a wide-brimmed hat, or use an umbrella, and apply sunscreens with broad-spectrum coverage of SPF 15 or higher.
  • Reschedule or plan outdoor activities during cooler parts of the day.
  • Take a break from the heat every now and then—especially if you’re working or playing sports in the sun. Find a shady spot or an air-conditioned building when you start feeling the heat.
  • Check up on elderly or frail neighbours and family to make sure they are comfortable and staying hydrated.

Overheating or dehydrating can cause a number of illnesses including heat rash and heat cramps, heat exhaustion and most seriously heat stroke. The early symptoms can include dizziness, fainting, nausea, headache, rapid breathing or heartbeat, extreme thirst, and decreased urination with unusually dark yellow urine. Immediately find cool space, and drink liquids if these symptoms occur.

If someone has a high body temperature, is confused, has stopped sweating or is unconscious, call 911 immediately. Heat stroke is a medical emergency.

Whether you’re on the water, around a picnic table or just puttering in the back yard, managing the heat will help the whole family have a memorable summer.

For more information, call Health Connection at 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520 weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. or look for the heat resources on the health unit’s website at http://www.simcoemuskokahealth.org/Topics/Environment/weather/extremeheat.aspx

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