July 31, 2007
People suffer hot weather health emergencies when their bodies cannot properly cool themselves. Heat exhaustion can develop with exposure to high temperatures without adequate fluid replacement. It 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.
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 outdoors in the heat, try to plan activities for early in the morning or in the evening when it is cooler, and rest frequently to allow your body temperature to cool down. Follow the Canadian Cancer Society’s Sunsense Guidelines to reduce sun exposure between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. or when the UV Index is 3 or more. Seek shade, wear a wide brimmed hat and wear sunscreen SPF 15 or higher (SPF 30 if you work outdoors or will be outside for most of the day). Take extra precautions to protect seniors, infants and children.
Drink extra fluids
Heavy sweating removes water, salt and minerals from the body. Don’t wait until you are thirsty; on hot days increase your fluid intake regardless of your level of activity. During heavy exercise, lasting more than one hour, 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. Keep in mind that even when you are in the water, your body is still sweating and you still need to maintain fluid intake.
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 antipsychotic, major tranquilizers, antidepressants, antihistamines, sleeping pills and some medications to control Parkinson's disease. If in doubt, contact your family doctor or pharmacist.
Use common sense
· Do not leave people or pets in parked vehicles
· Dress infants in cool, loose clothing and monitor fluid intake
· Dress in clothing that promotes the absorption of sweat
For more information on this or any other health-related topic, please contact York Region Health Services, Health Connection at 1-800-361-5653.
For more information on The
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Media Contact: Jennifer Mitchell-Emmerson, Health Educator - Media,
Phone: 905 830-4444, ext. 4016 or After-hours Cell: 905 716-2717