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Precautions to take during the extreme heat

Interior Health is reminding people of the dangers of being exposed to extreme temperatures.

Dr. Sue Pollock says illness can occur when the body gains heat faster than it can cool itself down, which can lead to weakness, disorientation, and exhaustion.

She says there are four main groups at risk for heat-related illness: infants and young children 4 and younger, elderly individuals 65 year and older, healthy individuals who do work outside in the heat, and people with chronic diseases.

Dr. Pollock says these groups are at higher risk because they may not be able to support themselves if overheating occurs.

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Symptoms can range from mild to very severe:

  • Pale, cool, moist skin
  • Heavy sweating
  • Muscle cramps
  • Rash
  • Swelling, especially hands and feet
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Lightheadedness and/or fainting
  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • High fever
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures and unconsciousness

Dr. Pollock says if symptoms continue or worsen for more than an hour you should go to a health care practitioner.

There are steps to prevent getting ill from the heat:

  1. Plan day activities before 11 am or after 4 pm
  2. Drink plenty of water, two to four cups per hour
  3. Avoid doing physical activity outside
  4. Rest breaks are important and to be in the shade
  5. Try and stay in a cool environment with AC or have a cold shower and bath to cool the body’s core temperature.
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