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Interior Health offers safety tips as temperatures soar

‘Too much heat can be harmful to your health’
With high temperatures forecasted for the week and into the next, Interior Health is offering some tips on how to keep yourself safe from heat-related illness. (Pixabay)

With a heat wave sweeping through the region, Interior Health (IH) is offering some tips on keeping yourself safe from high temperatures.

“Too much heat can be harmful to your health,” acting chief medical health officer Dr. Sue Pollock said.

“Excessive heat exposure can lead to weakness, disorientation and exhaustion. In severe cases, it can lead to heatstroke, also known as sunstroke. Heatstroke can be a life-threatening medical emergency.”

The health authority said those who are most at risk of heat-related illness include infants and young children, people 65 years or older, those with heart problems and breathing difficulties, as well as people who exercise or work outdoors.

But how can you avoid heat-related illness? Here are some tips from IH:

  • Plan to engage in outdoor activity before 11 a.m. or after 4 p.m. to avoid intense sun
  • Drink plenty of non-alcoholic fluids; water is best
  • Avoid physical work or exercise outside
  • If you must work or exercise outdoors, drink two to four cups of water hourly, even if you don’t feel thirsty
  • Take rest breaks
  • Apply sunscreen to prevent sunburn
  • Stay in the shade or use an umbrella or a wide-brimmed hat
  • Move indoors to stay cool; take a cool bath or shower
  • Never leave children or pets alone in a parked car
  • Regularly check on older adults, infants, children, those outdoors or people with chronic disease for signs of heat-related illness

Some heat-related illness symptoms to look out for include pale, cool moist skin, heavy sweating, muscle cramps, swelling in hands and feet, fatigue and weakness, lightheadedness or fainting, headache, nausea or vomiting.

More severe symptoms can include a high fever, hallucinations, seizures and unconsciousness. When these occur, call 911 immediately and try to cool the person down.

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Twila Amato

About the Author: Twila Amato

Twila was a radio reporter based in northern Vancouver Island. She won the Jack Webster Student Journalism Award while at BCIT and received a degree in ancient and modern Greek history from McGill University.
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