Temperatures in the Cochrane area have exceeded 25 degrees celsius with the humidex this week, while it's nice to feel the summer heat, it does put some groups at risk.
Infants and children, socially isolated/housebound individuals, people with pre-existing medical conditions, individuals taking certain medications, outdoor workers, and seniors are all at a higher risk of heat injury.
It's important to take the proper precautions to protect yourself and others from the heat, here are some Alberta Health Service recommends.
- Consider rescheduling outdoor activities to cooler hours of the day.
- Take frequent breaks from heat, spending time indoors at cooled public buildings.
- Drink plenty of water and other non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated beverages to stay hydrated.
- Do not leave any person or pet inside a closed vehicle.
- Apply a sunscreen of at least sun protection factor (SPF) 30, at least 20 minutes before heading outdoors. Be sure the SPF 30 screens out both UVA and UVB rays.
- Wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses.
- Wear light-coloured long-sleeved shirts and pants that cover skin.
It is important to check in on socially isolated or housebound neighbours, friends or family to make sure they are staying cool and hydrated.
A reminder that older adults with respiratory or cardiovascular conditions can be at a higher risk of harm during heat events, certain medicines may also increase heat impact, as some interfere with the body's ability to regulate temperature.
It is important to speak with your doctor or pharmacist about how pre-existing conditions or medicines can impact your risk of heat injury.
When it is warm outside be sure to monitor others for symptoms of heat stroke, which include, lack of sweat, high body temperature, disorientation, fainting and unconsciousness.
Jason Cabaj, Medical Officer of Health, AHS Calgary Zone, says there are some warning signs you are developing heat stroke, which is a medical emergency.
"You'll get heat cramps if you're exercising, sometimes people can get swelling in hands and legs in a hot environment," he explains. "Before heat stroke people will develop heat exhaustion, that usually happens when people are working or exercising in hot weather and are not hydrating adequately to replace those lost liquids. One of the key things is not waiting until they are thirsty when it's hot will prevent them from getting into that serious situation."
If someone around you presents heat stroke symptoms seek medical attention immediately, move the individual to a shaded area, remove their outer clothing and shoes, and wrap them in a wet towel until help arrives.