July 11, 2005

Graphic of Sun

Protect yourself in the heat... stay cool, be sunsmart and breathe easy

NEWMARKET – With the weather forecast this week of high temperatures and lots of sunshine, York Region Health Services reminds residents to take extra precautions to stay healthy.
Prevent heat stroke and heat exhaustion
• 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 40.6ēC (105ēF). 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.
graphic of summer activities
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.
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.
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.
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 and persons with high blood pressure, heart disease or chronic medical conditions
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
• Try and reduce sun exposure between 11:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.  The sun's rays are strongest at this time.  If you can, plan you outdoor activities before or after these hours.
• Seek shade or create your own.  When outside, try to stay in the shade. Take an umbrella to create shade wherever you need it.
• Wear long sleeve shirts, pants, broad-brimmed hats and UV blocking sunglasses.  Choose clothing that is loose fitting, tightly woven and light weight.
• Cover all exposed skin with sunscreen of SPF #15 or higher.  Look for "broad spectrum" on the label, which means that the sunscreen offers protection against two types of ultraviolet rays, UV-A and UV-B.  Apply sunscreen generously, if possible 20 minutes before outdoor activities.  Reapply at least every two hours, and after swimming or exercise that makes you sweat.
• Keep babies under one year out of the direct sun.  Babies need extra protection because of their sensitive skin.  Keep your child's stroller, playpen or carriage in the shade.

Minimize exposure to air pollutants and to refrain from activities that could worsen air quality.
• Avoid strenuous exercise and limit outdoor activities
• Reschedule outdoor activities until the smog advisory has been cancelled
• Keep away from high traffic areas to reduce exposure to vehicle exhaust
• Stay inside in a cool or well-ventilated environment
• Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration
• Seek medical attention for those complaining of symptoms such as tightness in their chests, coughing, wheezing or shortness of breath, excessive weakness or fatigue
Individuals and businesses can make a big difference in helping to reduce smog levels, including:
• Limit the use of cars: Walk, cycle, carpool or take public transit
• Reduce unnecessary engine idling of your vehicle at all times
• Restrict the use of oil-based paints, solvents, pesticides, glues, gas-powered engines (such as lawnmowers and leaf blowers) and barbecues

For further information on these or other health-related issues, contact York Region Health Services Health Connection at 1-800-361-5653 (toll free) or visit www.york.ca
Media Contact: Kim Clark, York Region Health Services
   905 830-4444, Ext. 4101

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