As temperatures reach the mid-30s C with humidex values close to 40 C throughout much of the province, Manitoba Health is reminding Manitobans to take precautions to prevent heat-related illness.
Heat affects the body’s ability to regulate its temperature and it can become overworked if exposed to heat for too long. This can lead to dehydration, heat exhaustion, other serious illnesses or even death.
While the health risks related to heat are higher for certain groups, such as older adults, young children and people with chronic conditions, everyone is potentially at risk. The effects of heat can be reduced by:
· drinking plenty of water before feeling thirsty;
· staying inside during the hottest part of the day;
· wearing a wide-brimmed hat or using an umbrella, wearing loose-fitting, light-coloured clothing and using sunscreen, if you are outdoors;
· going to a cool place such as a mall, restaurant or movie theatre for a break from the heat, if there is no air conditioning at home;
· taking a cool bath, shower or swim; and
· limiting physical activities during the hotter parts of the day.
Also, remember to check on family members, neighbours and friends when it gets hot, especially older adults and people with chronic conditions. Never leave people or pets in your care alone in closed vehicles or direct sunlight.
Exposure to heat can lead to a variety of symptoms including headache, nausea, weakness, dizziness, fainting, confusion, rapid breathing and dehydration. If any of these symptoms are identified, move to a cool or shaded place immediately, drink sips of water, lie down and sponge with cool water, if possible. Emergency medical attention may be required depending on the severity of symptoms.