Coping with extreme heat: it's all in the planning

NC)—Don't let bouts of extreme heat get you down this summer. By taking a few simple precautions ahead of time, you can keep yourself, your family and people you care for safe, cool, hydrated and prepared to enjoy the beautiful summer weather we wait so long for here in Canada. And remember, certain sectors of our society are more vulnerable to heat illness such as seniors, young children, outdoor workers and people without access to working air conditioning.

Here are some tips from the experts at Health Canada who've studied the effects of extreme heat:

• Be prepared. Tune in to local weather forecasts and alerts so you know when to take extra care.

• Arrange for family members, neighbours or friends to visit anyone you know or care for who belongs to one of those vulnerable groups. Visitors can help identify signs of heat illness that could be missed over the phone.

• Know the symptoms of heat illness which include dizziness or fainting, nausea or vomiting, headache, rapid breathing and heartbeat, extreme thirst or decreased urination. In extreme cases, the person may be unconscious or have stopped sweating; if so, this is a medical emergency and must be dealt with immediately by calling 911 or your local emergency number.

• Keep your home cool. If you have one, make sure your air conditioner is working. Wear loose-fitting clothing, block the sun indoors, open your windows at night to let cooler air inside.

• Avoid exposure to very hot temperatures outdoors. Reschedule or plan outdoor activities during cooler parts of the day. Move to shaded areas which can be as much as 5oC/9oF cooler than sunny areas.

• Contact your pharmacist or health care provider if you have a health condition or are taking any medication to see if your health could be at risk in the heat. People with certain conditions such as breathing difficulties, heart or kidney problems or Parkinson's disease are more at risk.

More information is available on ways to beat the heat at www.healthcanada.gc.ca/cc or by e-mailing publications@hc-sc.gc.ca or calling 1-866-225-0709.

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Carol Ireland

Carol Ireland

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CENTURY 21 Millennium Inc., Brokerage*
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