With hotter temperatures arriving, it is important to keep heat health a number one priority and to know the risks.
Manitoba Health is reminding the public that taking precautions to prevent overheating, and learning how to recognize and treat symptoms of heat illness are necessary as temperatures and humidity levels rise.
With summer temperatures, everyone is at risk of being struck by heat illness, however, the risk is greater for older adults, infants and young children, people with chronic conditions and people living alone, especially those living in urban areas or without air conditioning.
People who work or exercise outside are also at a greater risk.
Here are some tips to prevent heat-related illnesses:
- drink plenty of liquids, especially water, before feeling thirsty;
- avoid prolonged sun exposure;
- cancel outdoor activities or reschedule them to cooler times of the day;
- for those working outdoors, take breaks often and stay hydrated;
- wear loose-fitting, light-coloured clothing and a wide-brimmed hat;
- limit alcohol consumption;
- close awnings, curtains or blinds to block out the sun at home;
- take a cool shower or bath; or
- go to an air-conditioned building such as a mall, community centre, public library or place of worship.
The Manitoba Government will share heat warnings when temperature and humidex levels are expected to meet established criteria via their Twitter page @MBGov.
If someone is suspected to be ill from the heat, check them for these symptoms:
- weakness or tiredness;
- muscle cramps; or
- rapid breathing or pulse.
Anyone experiencing these symptoms should move to a cool or shaded place, lie down, drink water and use cold compresses.
If someone loses consciousness, is confused, or has red, hot and dry skin, call 911. This may be heat stroke, which is a medical emergency. While waiting for emergency medical help, move the person to a cool or shaded place, apply cold water to large areas of their skin or clothing, and fan the person as much as possible.
For more information on heat and health, call Health Links–Info Santé at 204-788-8200 or (toll-free) 1-888-315-9257 or visit the following links:
- Manitoba Health: www.manitoba.ca/health/publichealth/environmentalhealth/heat.html
- Manitoba Agriculture: www.gov.mb.ca/agriculture/animal-health-and-welfare/animal-welfare/heat-stress-animals.html
- Health Canada: www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/sun-safety/extreme-heat-heat-waves.html
- Safe Work Manitoba: www.safemanitoba.com