For the next several days, high temperatures and humidex values are expected for many areas of Northern BC. Northern Health reminds fun-seekers to be aware of the risks of getting too much heat or sun exposure.
“The effects of heat and sun exposure result in a number of visits to local emergency rooms each year in Northern Health”, said Dr. Ronald Chapman, Chief medical health officer. “There may be the temptation to make the most of periods of hot weather because they don’t happen too often, but people should always keep their health and safety in mind.”
Heat illness can occur when the humidex is at or near 40, or during extended periods of high temperatures. The very young and people over 65 years of age are most vulnerable.
Symptoms of heat illness include rapid breathing, headache, weakness or fatigue, nausea and muscle cramps. People with these symptoms should move to a cool environment, rest, and drink cool, non-alcoholic beverages. If an individual’s symptoms worsen or are severe, they should visit an emergency room or their family doctor.
To protect you and your family from heat illness, keep the following in mind:
- Watch or listen for humidex reports issued by Environment Canada
- Drink lots of water and natural juices, even if you don't feel thirsty; avoid caffeinated beverages and alcohol, which can cause dehydration
- Avoid strenuous activity during mid-day when the temperature is at its peak.
- Avoid going out in the blazing sun. If you must go out, stay in the shade or wear a hat.
- Apply a sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 15 or more for short trips outside. Upgrade to SPF 30 if you’ll be spending long periods in direct sun.
- Apply sunscreen 15 to 30 minutes before exposure, using waterproof sunscreen if you sweat heavily or plan to swim.
- Use a fan to bring in cooler air from outside.
- Check on relatives, friends and neighbors who live alone, have difficulty caring for themselves, or are immobile to ensure they aren't suffering from the heat.
- Never leave infants, small children or pets in a parked car.
- Check with your doctor or pharmacist to see any medication you might take put you at higher risk for developing heat-related illness
For more information on heat-related health issues, including heat exhaustion and heatstroke, call 8-1-1 for health advice 24/7, or visit www.healthlinkbc.ca