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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Health Unit Cautions Avoid Heat Fatalities!

Keep Cool Tips!

hot sun Omemee Area Residents Encouraged to Stay Cool, Drink Plenty of Fluids During Extreme Heat -
Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit recommends area residents take heat precautions as southern Ontario sees extreme heat and hazy conditions.
‘Beat the heat is the order of the day,’ says Anne Alexander, Director of Environmental Health with the HKPR District Health Unit. ‘Watch what you do over the next few days, since extreme heat can be harmful to your health.’

Recognizing Heat Stroke

Heat Stroke can be fatal. Heat-related illness occurs when a person’s body is unable to properly cool. Cramping and exhaustion may result, as can heat stroke. Symptoms of heat illness include
    • dizziness or fainting;
    • nausea or vomiting;
    • headache;
    • rapid breathing and heartbeat;
    • extreme thirst (dry mouth or sticky saliva); and
    • decreased urination with unusually dark yellow urine
‘This is a medical emergency that can prove fatal if not treated, so it is essential to seek immediate help from a health care provider,’ Alexander warns.

Preventing Heat Stroke: Keep Cool Tips

Prevention is the best remedy to avoiding heat-related illness. The Health Unit offers this advice:
  • Drink plenty of water and diluted natural fruit juices through the day to stay cool and hydrated. Avoid dehydrating alcohol, or caffeine in coffee, tea, cola and similar drinks
  • Eat light, cool foods, and avoid using the oven, barbecue or other hot appliances.
  • Avoid going out in the blazing sun or heat when possible. Doing strenuous activities such as mowing the lawn or using other gas-powered equipment on very hot and humid days is not recommended. If you must go outside, stay in the shade as much as possible.
  • Wear light, loose fitting clothes. Wear a wide-brimmed hat outside. Always apply sunscreen (with Sun Protection Factor of 15 or higher).
  • Stay in air-conditioned rooms, either at home, a friend’s place or public places such as malls, libraries, movie theatres, community centres or specially designated facilities. To find out if there are ‘cooling centres’ in your community, call your local municipality.
  • Keep window shades or drapes drawn and blinds closed on the sunny side of your home.
  • Consider going to the basement or opening up some windows to try creating a cross breeze, especially early and later in the day.
  • Use fans to draw cool air into your home at night, but do not rely on fans as the primary cooling device during extended periods of excessive heat.
  • Take a cool bath or shower periodically or cool down with cool, wet towels.
  • Never leave a child or pet in a parked car, or sleeping outside in direct sunlight.
  • Regularly check on friends, family members and neighbours who may be alone and at high risk during a heat wave. This is especially important if these people are older or have mobility issues.
  • Keep emergency supplies such as water and canned goods on hand in case of power outages.

Most Vulnerable Populations

Humidity and hot temperatures can take a toll on the health of people, especially those most vulnerable to heat-related illness such as infants and young children, older adults, people with chronic medical conditions, and individuals who work outside
For more information, call the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577 or visit www.hkpr.on.ca
More information is also available at Health Canada-Protecting Yourself From Extreme Heat

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