How to Beat the Heat
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Heat related illness can be prevented. While extreme heat can present a health risk to everyone, call or visit people who are at increased risk for heat-related illness to make sure they are okay.
People at increased risk for heat related illness include:
- older adults
- infants and young children
- people with chronic illnesses, such as heart or respiratory conditions, people with limited physical mobility and people with certain mental health illnesses
- people on certain medications
- people who work or exercise in the heat
- homeless people and low-income earners
How to prevent heat related illness:
- Drink lots of cool water even before you feel thirsty.
- Go to an air conditioned place such as a shopping mall, library or community centre.
- Wear loose light coloured breathable clothing and when outdoors wear a wide-brimmed hat.
- Avoid the sun and stay in the shade or use an umbrella.
- Reschedule or plan outdoor activities during the cooler parts of the day.
- Take cool showers or baths or use cool wet towels to cool down.
- Keep blinds or drapes closed to block out the sun during the day.
- Make meals that don't use an oven, especially if you don't have air conditioning.
- Use a fan next to your window, to bring cooler air in from outside.
- Never leave a person or pet inside a parked car or in the direct sunlight.
- Consult with your doctor or pharmacist on medications that increase your risk to heat.
- Call or visit at-risk family, friends or neighbours, especially seniors living alone to make sure they are drinking plenty of fluids and keeping cool.
Watch for symptoms of heat related illnesses, which include:
- dizziness or fainting
- nausea or vomiting
- rapid breathing and heartbeat
- extreme thirst
Heat Stroke is a medical emergency so if a person has a high body temperature and is either confused, has stopped sweating or is unconscious, call 911. While waiting for emergency services to arrive, help the person by doing this:
- Move the person to a cooler location, if you can.
- Apply cold water to large area of skin or clothing.
- Fan the person.
Last updated April 2012