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Health Unit offers tips to stay cool during hot weather

June 15, 2023   ·   0 Comments

By Brian Lockhart

With summer approaching and outdoor temperatures rising, staying cool can be challenging.

During periods of extreme heat, everyone is at risk of heat-related illness. But infants, older adults, and people with pre-existing health conditions are even more vulnerable to harm from overheating.

The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit is offering tips on how to stay cool when temperatures rise.

When it is hot outside, pay close attention to how you and those around you feel. Consider developing a check-in system for neighbours, family and friends who are at higher risk during warmer weather.

Learn the signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses and what to do if they occur.

Heat stroke is a medical emergency. If you are caring for someone who has a high body temperature and is either unconscious, confused or has stopped sweating, call 911 immediately.

Indoor temperatures can rise to unsafe levels. To help reduce the heat entering your home, close blinds or curtains during the day and, if possible, open doors and windows when it is cooler outside.

During periods of extreme heat, fans will not prevent heat-related illness. You should take other steps like taking cool baths or showers and going to cooler, air-conditioned places such as a cooling centre, library, or outdoor spaces with shaded areas.

If you have air conditioning, turn it on – even at a low level, it can help you stay safe.

During the hottest hours of the day, overexertion increases the risk of heat exhaustion, dehydration, or heat stroke. High humidity can increase air pollution levels, making air quality worse during periods of extreme heat.

When outside, stay in the shade, take frequent breaks, and apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or more. Wear a broad-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and lightweight, light-coloured, loose-fitting clothing.

Staying hydrated is another important way to keep cool. Drink plenty of water and avoid beverages containing alcohol, caffeine, or large amounts of sugar.

You don’t need to wait until you feel thirsty, as that is a sign that your body is already becoming dehydrated.

If you take medication or have a health condition, ask your healthcare provider if it increases your risks from extreme heat or dehydration.

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