SIMCOE, MAY 19th, 2017 – With the arrival of spring and summer comes an increase in outdoor temperatures and Humidex values. The Haldimand-Norfolk Heath Unit (HNHU) would like to remind the public of tips on how to beat the heat and stay cool, as well as to check in on family and friends who may be more vulnerable to the heat.
“There are members of the community that are at greater risk for preventable heat-related illness. It’s important that we remember to check in on them to and provide them with assistance if necessary,” said Stephanie Pongracz, program manager of the Environmental Health Team with the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit. “Children and babies, older adults and pets shouldn’t be left unattended or alone in cars, or other confined spaces when the weather is hot”.
The HNHU encourages the public to check on family, friends and neighbours, especially isolated adults and seniors who are at greater risk of suffering from heat-related illness. Other groups at risk include infants and young children, people with chronic illnesses, individuals with limited mobility or certain mental health illnesses, people on certain medications, outdoor workers, those who are homeless and those with low-income.
Some tips for keeping cool include:
- Drink lots of cool water even before you feel thirsty.
- Go to air-conditioned places, including shopping malls, local libraries or community centres.
- Take cool showers or baths or use cool wet towels to cool down.
- Wear loose, light-coloured, breathable clothing and, when outdoors, wear a wide-brimmed hat.
- Avoid the sun. Stay in the shade or use an umbrella.
- Reschedule or plan outdoor activities during the cooler parts of the day.
- Never leave seniors, children or pets unattended in a car.
If any symptoms of heat illness (such as dizziness or fainting, nausea or vomiting, headache, rapid breathing and heartbeat, or extreme thirst) are present in an individual, immediately move the person to a cool place and encourage him or her to drink water. The most dangerous heat illness is heat stroke, with symptoms that include complete or partial loss of consciousness or confusion and high body temperature. If caring for someone with these symptoms, call 911 immediately. While waiting for help, cool the person right away by moving them to a cool place, applying cold water to large areas of the skin or clothing and fanning the person as much as possible.
For more tips and information on avoiding heat-related illnesses, please see the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit’s website at www.hnhu.org.
Senior Public Health Inspector
Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit
519-426-6170 ext. 3267