July 03, 2002

Hot weather health protection


NEWMARKET - The high temperatures of summer are finally here, prompting York Region Health Services to remind residents to take extra precautions on hot days.

"High temperatures can cause heat-related illness, including heat stroke and heat exhaustion," said Dr. Helena Jaczek, York Region Commissioner of Health Services and Medical Officer of Health. "We are asking residents to take heat conditions seriously and to follow basic, common sense precautions to protect themselves from possible illness."

Heat exhaustion is the body's response to excessive loss of water and salt contained in sweat. Warning signs include heavy sweating, dizziness, headache, nausea or vomiting and, if left untreated, may progress to heat stroke.

Heat stroke can occur when a person's natural body cooling process fails and his/her core body temperature rises above 40.6C (105F). Heat stroke is medical emergency that can develop in a few minutes or hours. Symptoms may include mental confusion, extreme fatigue and sometimes profuse perspiring. Quickly lowering the body temperature is the recommended treatment when such symptoms occur. Seek medical assistance.

York Region Health Services offers the following preventative measures to protect your health when temperatures are high:

Reduce physical activity, especially in the full sun

If you must be out in the heat, try to plan activities before 11:00 a.m. and after 4:00 p.m.,when the sun is less intense, and rest frequently to allow your body temperature to cool down. Attempt to be in the shade as much as possible and take extra precautions to protect infants and children.

Drink extra liquids and maintain adequate salt intake

Heavy sweating removes water, salt and minerals from the body. On hot days, increase your fluid intake regardless of your level of activity. During heavy exercise, drink 16 to 32 ounces

(2 to 4 cups) of cool fluids each hour. Depleted salt and minerals can be replaced by drinking fruit juices or sports beverages.

Increase time spent in air-conditioned places

The most efficient way to beat the heat is to stay in an air-conditioned area. Consider a visit to your local pool, a shopping mall, library, restaurant or air-conditioned home. If you do not have air-conditioning, keep your shades or drapes drawn with the window open, if possible.

Take frequent cool showers or baths

A cool shower, bath or swim is an efficient method of lowering your body temperature.

Monitor those at risk

Those at greatest risk of heat-related illness include:

Infants and children up to four years of age

The elderly

Persons with high blood pressure, heart disease or chronic medical conditions

Individuals taking certain medications, such as antipsychotics, major tranquilizers, antidepressants, antihistamines, sleeping pills and some medications to control Parkinson's disease. If in doubt, contact your family doctor

Use common sense

Do not leave infants or pets in parked vehicles

Dress infants in cool, loose clothing and monitor fluid intake

Use a waterproof sunscreen containing both UVA and UVB protection with a SPF of 15 or more. Follow directions on the package and do not use on babies under six months of age

For more information on hot weather health protection or any other health-related issue, contact York Region Health Services Health Connection at 1-800-361-5653 (toll free) or 905-895-8004.

For details on The Regional Municipality of York, the services we offer and links to our nine area municipalities, please visit our Web site at: www.region.york.on.ca.

Contact: Kim Clark, York Region Health Services

905-830-4444 Ext. 4101


The Regional Municipality of York is committed to providing cost-effective, quality services that respond to the needs of our rapidly growing communities.  York Region is comprised of the following nine area municipalities:  Aurora, East Gwillimbury, Georgina, King, Markham, Newmarket, Richmond Hill, Vaughan and Whitchurch-Stouffville.  For more information, visit our Web site at:  www.region.york.on.ca

Contact: Patrick Casey, Senior Media Relations Specialist, York Region

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