Public Advisories & Alerts
Prevent heat-related illness13 July 2012
FREDERICTON (GNB) – New Brunswickers are reminded by the provincial deputy chief medical officer of health, Dr. Denis Allard, to take precautions to avoid heat-related illness.
When Environment Canada forecasts a high humidex or if there is a succession of several hot days, people are at an increased risk of heat illness.
Those most at risk include older adults; children four years old and younger; people who are overweight; and those with chronic medical conditions, especially heart disease and high blood pressure.
People on certain medications that impair the body's ability to regulate heat or perspiration, especially those with mental-health conditions, are also at risk. People who live alone, have difficulty in caring for themselves, or who are immobile and unable to relocate to a cooler environment, are also at high risk for heat illness.
Even young and healthy individuals can be affected by heat if they engage in strenuous physical activities.
"Muscle cramps, fatigue, headache, and nausea are all symptoms of heat-related illness," Allard said. "Anyone experiencing symptoms of heat-related illness should be moved to a cool environment, drink cool, non-alcoholic beverages, and rest. This simple act can save a life. If symptoms worsen or are severe, seek immediate medical attention. What may start as a mild form of heat-related illness might progress to heat stroke, which could be life-threatening."
To prevent heat illness, New Brunswickers should take these precautions:
● drink plenty of fluids, especially water, before feeling thirsty;
● plan outdoor activities for cooler parts of the day. Remember mosquitoes will also be active at those times. Protect yourself with insect repellent;
● avoid exposure to the sun. If you must be outside, use a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher, wear light-coloured clothing and wear a wide-brimmed hat;
● limit physical activity and pace yourself carefully;
● never leave someone or a pet inside a parked car or in direct sunlight;
● spend a few hours in a cool place (mall, library, shaded park or at a pool) or use air-conditioning;
● electric fans alone may not provide enough cooling to prevent heat illness when the temperature and humidity are high – a cool bath or shower is a more effective way to cool off;
● keep windows closed as much as possible if the temperature outside is higher than it is inside; and
● keep sun out with curtains or blinds.
Further information about heat illness and dangers is online.
● Department of Health (heat-related illnesses)