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HomeNewsHealth officials offer tips to combat heat-related illnesses

Health officials offer tips to combat heat-related illnesses

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With heat warnings issued throughout the area, local health officials are trying to help you enjoy the sunny weather.

Officials say 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.

Those who are considered to be at high-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, according to officials. 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.

During these times, health officials say these are tips to follow to avoid heat-related health issues:

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  • While maintaining physical distancing, frequently visit or check-in on 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.  Remember to practice physical distancing to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
  • 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,
  • 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.

Officials add that knowing heat-related symptoms can help save lives. Symptoms 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, call a healthcare professional. In emergency situations, call 9-1-1.

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