Take precautions to beat the heat

With the arrival of summer, British Columbia is seeing extreme temperatures and heat warnings across the province, reminding us of the health risks that can be caused by heat-related illnesses.

It’s important for the people CLBC serves, their families and service providers to be aware of the precautions that can be taken to help keep everyone safe during times of extreme heat.

HealthLink BC has shared the following tips for staying cool and safe, and you can also find many helpful resources for beating the heat on their website here:

  • Drink plenty of fluids. Drink extra water even before you feel thirsty and if you are active on a hot day. Ask your health-care provider about how much water you should drink on hot days if you are on water pills or limiting your fluid intake.
  • Stay indoors in air-conditioned buildings or take a cool bath or shower.
  • Plan activity before 10 a.m. or after 4 p.m., when the sun’s UV radiation is the weakest.
  • Avoid tiring work or exercise in hot, humid environments. If you must work or exercise, drink two to four glasses of non-alcoholic fluids each hour. Rest breaks are important and should be taken in the shade.
  • Avoid sunburn by using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher and an SPF 30 lip balm, and reapply often.
  • Wear lightweight, light-coloured, loose-fitting clothing and a wide brimmed hat, or use an umbrella for shade.
  • A parked car can be a dangerous place on a hot day. Temperatures can rise to 52 C within 20 minutes inside a vehicle when the outside temperature is 34 C. Leaving the car windows slightly open will not keep the inside of the vehicle at a safe temperature.
  • Regularly check older adults, children and others for signs of heat-related illness, and make sure they are keeping cool and drinking plenty of fluids. Check on those who are unable to leave their homes.

Those experiencing mild symptoms of heat exhaustion can move to a cooler environment, drink lots of cool, non-alcoholic fluids, rest and take a cool shower or bath.

For anything beyond mild symptoms, you can contact a health-care provider for assistance.

You can also stay up to date on heat alerts for B.C. by visiting Environment Canada’s website here.

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