Exposure to heat for too long a period can lead to dehydration, heat exhaustion, other serious illnesses or death. Health risks related to heat are higher for older adults, young children, people on certain medications and people with chronic conditions. However, everyone is potentially at risk.
The effects of heat can be reduced by:
Remember to check on family members, neighbours and friends when it gets hot, especially older adults and people with chronic conditions. Do not leave people or pets alone in closed, parked vehicles, even for a few minutes. Avoid leaving people or pets in direct sunlight.
Prolonged 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 associated with heat or sun exposure, move to a cool or shaded place immediately, drink sips of liquids or water, lie down and sponge with cool water. Emergency medical attention may be required depending on the severity of symptoms. Other health conditions can be made worse by heat and long periods of heat can have a greater effect on health.
The effects of heat can build up over a few days if the temperature and humidity does not drop. Plan activities carefully and look for opportunities to get a break from the heat. The elderly, individuals living alone, people with chronic conditions and people on certain medications should take extra care.
Remember the five key points on preventing heat-related illness:
For more information on heat and health, call Health Links-Info Santé at 204-788-8200 or 1_888_315_9257 (toll-free) or visit:
Weather forecasts are available from Environment Canada at http://weatheroffice.gc.ca/canada_e.html or call 204-983-2050.
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