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Health Unit offers tips to beat the heat

SIMCOE, ON, June 19, 2012 – With temperatures expected to climb above 30°C for the next few days, and accompanying Humidex values approaching the 40°C mark, the Health Unit is reminding people that this heat wave can pose health risks if people do not take the proper precautions.

“In order to avoid serious illnesses such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke, people need to be drinking plenty of water, and wearing loose fitting and light clothing, said Joanne Alessi, Injury Prevention Health Promoter with the Health Unit. “If possible, people should also try to stay indoors in an air-conditioned place too, either at home, or a mall, or a public library.”

Health officials urge those whose work requires them to be outside to try and seek shade as much as possible, wear sunscreen and a wide-brimmed hat, and avoid doing strenuous activities during the peak temperature hours of the day.

The Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit also offers these other tips to avoid heat-related illness:

  • Drink plenty of water and natural juices throughout the day, even if you don’t feel very thirsty. Remember to take sips often and not to guzzle your drink.
  • Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages, coffee, cola, energy drinks and other beverages containing caffeine.
  • Keep window shades or drapes drawn and blinds closed on the sunny side of your home.
  • Keep electric lights off or turned down low.
  • Take a cool bath or shower periodically or cool down with cool, wet towels.
  • Avoid eating heavy meals and using your oven.
  • Avoid intense or moderately intense physical activity outdoors.
  • Never leave a child or pet in a parked car or sleeping outside in direct sunlight.
  • Use fans to draw cool air at night, but do not rely on a fan as a primary cooling device during extended periods of excessive heat.
  • Closely monitor children, the elderly, outdoor workers and others who are at a higher risk of heat-related illness.
  • Consult your doctor or pharmacist regarding the side effects of your medications.

If you experience any of the following symptoms of heat illness, seek help from a friend, relative or a doctor:

  • Rapid breathing
  • Weakness or fainting
  • More tiredness than usual
  • Headache
  • Confusion

Friends and relatives can help someone with heat illness by doing the following:

  • Call for help.
  • Move the person to a cooler location.
  • Remove excess clothing from the person.
  • Cool the person with lukewarm water, by sponging or bathing.
  • Give the person sips of cool water if they are not nauseated or vomiting. Do not give ice cold water.

More information on heat-related illnesses is available on www.hnhu.org.

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Media contact:
Joanne Alessi
Injury Prevention Coordinator, Population Health Team
Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit
905-318-6623 Ext. 330
joanne.alessi@hnhu.org