As temperatures are expected to reach highs in the low to mid-30-degree mark this week, Environment Canada is reminding people of the risks associated with the various heat-related illnesses.
Natalie Hasell, an Environment Canada Meteorologist says heat affects everyone, with some populations at a greater risk of heatstroke.
“The very old, the very young, pregnant women, people who don’t have as many choices, low-income earners, people experiencing homelessness they don’t necessarily have access to a place to cool down,” says Hasell.
She adds that people working or exercising in the heat are at risk of heat stroke, along with those with chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular, kidney disease, and diabetes to name a few.
A heat illness can come in a variety of shapes and sizes Hasell notes.
“A heat rash, heat stroke, heat fainting, heat exhaustion, heat cramps, and heat edema. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are considered the more serious medical situation. Heat stroke is described as a medical emergency, and you should call 9-1-1 to get help and services should someone be dealing with heat stroke or heat exhaustion.”
The signs of heat stroke are a high body temperature, confusion and lack of coordination, dizziness, fainting, and no sweating, but very hot, red skin.
To prevent you from getting heat stroke or heat exhaustion, Hasell touched on some key points to protect against the heat.
“Stay hydrated, dress in loose-fitting, light-coloured clothing, a white brimmed hat, and breathable fabric. We are dealing with sunshine so sun protectant and sunglasses. If you have to work outdoors, make sure you schedule lots of breaks and drink lots of water.”
Environment Canada does want to advise people to take some time to check on older family, friends, and neighbours, and make sure they are cool and drinking water. Never leave people or pets inside a parked vehicle.
“Ask for things like are you dealing with a headache? Are you noxious, vomiting, dizziness, fainting, rapid breathing, rapid heartbeat, extreme thirst, decreased urination, and changes in behaviors in children.”
They say if you come across anyone dealing with a heat illness to take them to a cool, shaded location and get them to rehydrate themselves.
Heat warnings are issued when very high temperature or humidity conditions are expected to pose an elevated risk of heat illnesses, such as heat stroke or heat exhaustion.
Please call HealthLine 811 for advice on health risks, symptoms, and precautions associated with heat.