With hot, humid weather forecast for the next few days, the Sudbury & District Health Unit would like to remind the public about heat safety. Exposure to extreme heat can lead to illnesses such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke, and in extreme cases, death. Those most at risk for developing heat-related illnesses during periods of hot, humid weather include the very young, the elderly, people who exercise vigorously or who are involved in strenuous work outdoors for prolonged periods, and the chronically ill.
“However, anyone can suffer from heat-related illnesses,” said Burgess Hawkins, a manager with the Health Unit’s Environmental Health Division. “Everyone should take precautions.”
The Health Unit offers the following tips on how to prevent heat-related illness:
•Stay cool by wearing light-coloured, loose-fitting, and lightweight clothing.
•Drink plenty of water. Avoid drinks made with alcohol or caffeine.
•Avoid going out in the sun or heat when possible.
•Keep electric lights off or turned down low.
•Take a cool bath or shower periodically, or cool down with cool, wet towels.
•Take plenty of rest breaks, preferably in the shade or in an air-conditioned area such as a library, community centre, shopping mall or a cooler area of your building.
•Avoid heavy meals and using your oven.
•Place a dish of ice cubes in front of your electric fan. It has a cooling effect.
•Never leave children or pets unattended in vehicles.
•Check in at least once a day on family, friends, and neighbours who may have difficulty dealing with the heat.
Know the signs and symptoms of heat-related illness. They include rapid breathing, weakness or fainting, more tiredness than usual, headache and confusion. 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.
For more information on preventing heat-related illness, please call the Sudbury & District Health Unit at 705.522.9200, ext. 398, toll-free 1.866.522.9200, or visit www.sdhu.com.