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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

HOT! Heat Safety Tips!

Heat Wave! Keep Cool, Drink Plenty of Fluids During Extreme Heat

With hot temperatures, and high humidity forecast this week, our local Health Unit is advising people to take precautions to beat
the heat.
Hot and humid conditions 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.
'Beat the heat should be the order of the day, given that the extreme heat and humidity we will be experiencing in southern Ontario can be harmful to your health,' says Richard Ovcharovich, Manager of Environmental Health with the Haliburton Kawartha Pine Ridge District Health Unit.

Heat Stroke-Know Your Symptoms!

Heat-related illness can occur when a person’s body is unable to compensate for the heat and properly cool. Cramping and exhaustion may result, as can heat stroke. Symptoms of heat stroke include headache, dizziness, confusion and fainting. Skin can also become hot and dry, or there may be sweating due to high body temperature. 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, Ovcharovich warns.

Keep Cool Tips

Prevention is the best remedy to avoiding heat-related illness. That is why the Health Unit advises people to:
  • Drink plenty of water and diluted natural fruit juices through the day to stay cool and hydrated. Avoid consuming alcohol, coffee, cola and other drinks that can cause dehydration.
  • Eat light, cool foods, and avoid using the oven or other hot appliances.
  • Avoid going out in the blazing sun or heat. 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 do go outside, stay in the shade if possible.
  • Wear light, loose fitting clothes. When outside, wear a wide-brimmed hat to cover your head, and always remember to 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 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.
For more information, call the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577 or visit www.hkpr.on.ca .

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