Seniors, children, should limit time in sun to hour at time: Island Health

Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement for East Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast. (Photo supplied by: Pexels)

Island Health is sharing tips on how to weather this historic heat wave.  

In a Zoom call, Medical Health Officer, Dr. Mike Benusic says there are three key things we can do to get through the next five days: 

  • to stay hydrated, 
  • stay protected from the sun, and 
  • to come together as a community to support those who are most vulnerable, including young children, seniors, and those with health conditions.

Benusic says dangerous temperatures on the island are categorized as two or more consecutive days of 29°C or warmer, and nighttime lows of above 16°C.

He listed the symptoms of heat stroke: “If you are noticing that you’re sweating a lot, starting to get light-headed, starting to have a headache, starting to have difficulty breathing… that’s definitely a sign that you’ve had too much heat. Get to somewhere where there’s shade, get to someplace where there’s cool, (and) make sure to stay hydrated.”

He added that if you’re feeling off and have concerns, call 811 to speak to a registered nurse.

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If the symptoms worsen, he says you should seek immediate medical attention.

He says people who are young and healthy, so long as they’re wearing a hat, sunscreen, and staying in the shade, can likely stay outside for a good portion of the day.

But he cautions that older people and children should limit their time outdoors.

“During this weekend, during this heatwave, probably limit yourself to about 30 minutes to an hour at a time,” Benusic said. “If you’re noticing any signs of heat stress, get inside or get to a cool place as soon as possible.” 

People can also take refuge in public facilities and malls with air conditioning.