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Help friends and family beat the heat, Health Unit urges

SIMCOE, MAY 30, 2013 – With today’s temperatures expected to hit 29Ëš C, feeling more like 36Ëš C with the humidex, the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit is reminding people to take proper precautions, and also to check on those individuals who are more vulnerable to the heat.

“While everyone will need to take precautions today, certain individuals are at particular risk because the heat will affect them more”, says Joanne Alessi, injury prevention coordinator with the Health Unit.

Those at particular risk during heat and smog-related weather conditions include:
· older adults over the age of 65
· infants and young children
· people with chronic heart or lung conditions, including asthma
· people taking certain medications (check with your pharmacist)
· people who exert themselves vigorously outdoors (such as gardeners, cyclists, etc.)
· family pets left unattended outdoors

“Take a few minutes on hot days like today and check on your family, friends and neighbours who might be more susceptible to heat and offer them assistance if necessary,” added Alessi. “It’s also important to never leave seniors, children and pets unattended in a car or vehicle in hot conditions.”

If you do discover someone displaying symptoms of a heat-related illness, such as rapid breathing, weakness, headache, nausea, dizziness or a high body temperature, seek medical attention immediately. After help has been called, move the person to a cooler location and remove excess clothing. Give the person sips of cool, but not ice cold, water if they are not nauseated or vomiting. Sponging or bathing the person in lukewarm water can also help to safely bring down their body temperature.

Public health officials are reminding citizens to drink plenty of fluids and stay indoors in an air-conditioned place like a home, mall or public library if possible. Individuals who need to be outside for their employment are encouraged to seek shade as much as possible, wear sunscreen and a wide brimmed hat and avoiding doing strenuous activities during the peak temperature hours of the day.

Additional tips for avoiding heat-related illnesses are available on the Health Unit’s website, www.hnhu.org.

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Media Contact:
Joanne Alessi
Injury Prevention Coordinator
Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit
905-318-5367 ext. 330
joanne.alessi@hnhu.org