As you make plans to enjoy the gorgeous summer sunshine this week, the Saskatchewan Health Authority is urging you to take precautions following a recent heat warning for many parts of the province. Environment Canada says temperatures as high as the mid-30s are expected, especially in southern and central parts of Saskatchewan this week.
When it’s this hot, it’s easy to get caught up having fun outside and forget to take precautions to keep your body cool. This is when hot weather can become dangerous, according to Dr. Simon Kapaj, Deputy Medical Health Officer with the Saskatchewan Health Authority in Saskatoon.
“Heat exhaustion is the most common form of heat-related illness,” said Kapaj, adding that some of the symptoms include heavy sweating, fatigue, weakness, dizziness, giddiness, headache, diarrhea, malaise, nausea, and sometimes vomiting. You may notice your skin is clammy and moist with profuse sweating, your complexion may be pale, muddy or flushed and there may be a rapid pulse and low blood pressure.
If you develop those symptoms the first thing you need to do is get out of the heat and find a cool place to rest immediately, and begin drinking some cold water.
“Heat exhaustion can come on quickly, and if it is not addressed, it can lead to heat stroke which could be fatal,” said Kapaj.
Heat stroke is the most serious heat-related illness. It occurs when the body is no longer able to control its temperature; as the body gets increasingly hot, its sweating mechanism fails, making it unable to cool down. The symptoms include red, hot and dry skin, a rapid and strong pulse, throbbing headache, dizziness, nausea, confusion and even unconsciousness. It requires immediate medical attention.
During this Saskatchewan heat wave, you’ll also want to keep a closer eye on the elderly, infants or children younger than four, those who have pre-existing conditions, and even your pets. “Make sure they are safe, that someone is checking on them and that they have access to help if they need it,” said Kapaj.
The good news is there are easy ways you can prevent heat exhaustion and keep cool, even when it’s hotter than a pepper sprout. You can avoid outside exercise or strenuous activity during peak heat hours; 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. It’s also advised that you drink plenty of cool drinks and avoid excessive alcohol and caffeine. As always, wear plenty of sunscreen to protect against sunburn, too.
“Following these steps will mean you can safely enjoy these hot temperatures at the lake, while camping, in the city or wherever you may be in our beautiful province this week,” said Kapaj.
Enjoying the sun at the lake.