Huron County, ON – Environment Canada is predicting an extreme heat event for the Canada Day long weekend. This means temperatures and humidex levels are expected to be very high for the next several days. The Huron County Health Unit reminds the public to take care to prevent heat-related illnesses.
“Getting too hot can make you sick, but heat-related illnesses are preventable,” says Public Health Inspector Chris Boyes. “There are things you can do to stay safer when heat warnings are issued.”
Ways to stay safer include:
- 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.
- 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.
- Take a break from the heat by spending a few hours in a cool place. It could be a tree-shaded area, swimming facility or an air-conditioned spot such as a public building, shopping mall, grocery store, place of worship or public library.
- Take cool showers or baths until you feel refreshed.
- Prepare meals that don’t 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.
Heat-related illnesses include heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat fainting, heat edema (swelling of hands, feet and ankles), heat rash and heat cramps (muscle cramps). Watch for symptoms of heat-related illnesses, which include:
- Dizziness or fainting
- Nausea or vomiting
- Rapid breathing and heartbeat
- Extreme thirst
- Decreased urination with unusually dark yellow urine.
If you experience any of these systems during extreme heat, immediately move to a cool place and drink liquids. Water is best.
Heat stroke is a medical emergency. Call 911 or your local emergency number immediately if you are caring for someone who has a high body temperature and is either unconscious, confused, or has stopped sweating. While waiting for help cool the person right away by:
- Moving them to a cool place, if you can
- Applying cold water to large areas of the skin or clothing
- Fanning the person as much as possible.
Frequently visit neighbours, friends and older family members, especially those who are chronically ill, to make sure they are cool and hydrated.
Follow Environment Canada’s weather forecasts at www.weather.gc.ca so you can plan ahead to stay safe in hot weather.