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Hot Days Ahead, Be Prepared: Health Unit Cautions

SIMCOE, ON, JULY 5, 2010 – The hot and muggy weather is expected to continue for the next few days, with temperatures in the 30s and Humidex values reaching the 40s. The Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit is reminding people that when the thermometer soars they need to take extra precautions to avoid heat-related illnesses, such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

“The high humidity slows the evaporation of sweat from the skin, hampering the body’s ability to cool itself. The resulting rise in body temperature can lead to serious illnesses.” says Josh Daley, Health Promoter with the Health Unit’s Healthy Environment Team. “People need to drink plenty of water and, if at all possible, stay indoors in an air-conditioned place, either at home, or a mall, or a public library.”

To avoid heat-related illness, the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit offers these tips:

·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 and cola
·Avoid going out in the blazing sun or heat when possible. If you must go outside, stay in the shade as much as possible. Plan any necessary outdoor activities in early morning or evening
·Wear a wide-brimmed hat outdoors
·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
·Wear loose fitting, light clothing
·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.

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Media contact:
Josh Daley
Health Promoter
Healthy Environment Team
Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit
Ext. 3256 at either 519-426-6170 or 905-318-6623