Heat and hu­mi­di­ty still a health risk

Vision (Canada) - - NEWS -

While the recent rains­torms have hel­ped wash dust and pol­len out of the air and hel­ped re­fresh lawns and gar­dens around the re­gion, the wea­ther in ge­ne­ral re­mains hot and hu­mid going in­to Au­gust.

Even though the heat­wave of Ju­ly has pas­sed on by, the Eas­tern On­ta­rio Health Unit re­minds all re­si­dents to re­mem­ber to take pre­cau­tions to avoid the chance of heat ex­haus­tion or re­la­ted ill­ness while the sum­mer tem­pe­ra­ture conti­nues to sit in the high 20s or low 30s du­ring the next few weeks. The hu­mi­di­ty le­vel can make those tem­pe­ra­tures seem even hi­gher.

Se­niors, in­fants, and ve­ry young chil­dren along with people who have chro­nic ill­nesses, and those who have to work long hours out­side in the heat or are doing train- ing exer­cises out­side are the ones most at risk for heat-re­la­ted ill­ness. The first rule is to stay in the shade as much as pos­sible when out­doors and keep hy­dra­ted by re­gu­lar drinks of wa­ter. Do not wait un­til thirs­ty but take re­gu­lar sips du­ring the day.

Sche­dule out­side ac­ti­vi­ties, if pos­sible, for ei­ther ear­ly in the mor­ning or la­ter in the eve­ning, when it is coo­ler. When out­side, wear loose-fit­ting, light-co­lou­red clo­thing made of brea­thable fa­bric. Wear a wide-brim­med hat or even car­ry a pa­ra­sol. Dress ba­bies and young chil­dren in light clothes. Do not bundle up in­fants in blan­kets or hea­vy clo­thing if they are in strol­lers or wal­kers or ri­ding in a child car­rier.

Do not leave chil­dren or pets in­side par­ked ve­hicles sit­ting in di­rect sun­light. Park in the shade. Bet­ter still, leave pets at home when pos­sible and keep chil­dren with you when get­ting out of the car and going in­side for er­rands.

When wor­king out­side, take breaks to go sit in a co­ol place, whe­ther a sha­ded area, an air-condi­tio­ned buil­ding, or at a pu­blic pool. Af­ter being out­side, take a co­ol sho­wer or bath.

When in­doors, block sun by dra­wing shades or blinds and clo­sing aw­nings. Al­so check with a doc­tor or phar­ma­cist if any pres­crip­tion me­di­ca­tions or per­so­nal health condi­tions are af­fec­ted by ex­treme heat condi­tions.

Symp­toms of heat-re­la­ted ill­nesses may in­clude swel­ling of the hands, feet and ankles, rash or muscle cramps, diz­zi­ness or fain­ting, nau­sea or vo­mi­ting, headache, ra­pid brea­thing and heart­beat, ex­treme thirst and de­crea­sed uri­na­tion with the urine a dark yel­low co­lour. If any of these symp­toms ap­pear and per­sist, go right away to a co­ol place and drink wa­ter or other co­ol li­quids.

A heat stroke si­tua­tion re­quires im­me­diate me­di­cal at­ten­tion. Call 911 if so­meone has a high bo­dy tem­pe­ra­ture, and ap­pears confu­sed, or has stop­ped swea­ting, or col­lap­sed un­cons­cious. While wai­ting for help, move them to a co­ol place; ap­ply cold wet cloths to as much of the bo­dy as pos­sible, and fan the per­son as much as pos­sible.

For more in­for­ma­tion on dea­ling with heat-re­la­ted pro­blems, phone the EOHU at 1-800-267-7120 or go to www.eohu.ca.

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