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Health Authority urging precautions as heat wave hits

No temperature records yet, but Environment Canada says we’re at the beginning of a heat wave, which could see records fall between now and Canada Day.

Island Health has issued an advisory about the heat.

Dr. Charmaine Enns is with Island Health.

As well as the usual advice about drinking plenty of fluids and using sun protection, Island Health is encouraging people to check on friends, neighbours and family who fall into those high risk groups.

The Coastal Fire Centre is responding the heat wave with a campfire ban.  It starts at noon on June 27th.

Here’s the full list of heat wave advice from health officials:

Although anyone at any time can suffer from heat-related illness, some people are at greater risk than others. Check regularly on: Infants and young children, people aged 65 or older, people who have a mental illness, those who are physically ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure.

Check-in on those who live alone. Visit adults at risk at least twice a day and closely watch them for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke including: heavy sweating, muscle cramps, rash, fatigue, and headache. Infants and young children, need much more frequent watching.

Keep yourself hydrated; drink more fluids regardless of your activity level. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. Avoid liquids that contain alcohol, caffeine or large amounts of sugar – these can cause you to lose more body fluid.

Stay indoors and, if at all possible, stay in an air-conditioned place.
If your home does not have air conditioning, try to go to the shopping mall or public library – even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat.

Electric fans may provide comfort, but when the temperature is above 27 Celsius, fans will not prevent heat-related illness. Taking a cool shower or bath, or spending time at an air-conditioned place is a much better way to cool off.

Wear lightweight, light-coloured, loose-fitting clothing.

NEVER leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle.

If you go outside; apply sunscreen to exposed skin, early and often, at least 15 to 30 minutes prior to going out. Minimum Sun Protection Factor (SPF) should be 30. Use it liberally and make sure to reapply often throughout the day, especially following swimming or heavy perspiration.

Seek shade and keep skin covered as much as possible when spending time in the sun. The sun can burn and damage skin even on a cloudy day. Wear a hat with a wide brim.

Children are more vulnerable to sun damage and heatstroke, so ensure their skin is protected or that they are in the shade. Infants under six months old should wear a UVA/UVB protective suit if spending time outdoors.

Wear sunglasses, especially when driving or cycling. Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation (rays) can cause cataracts and other eye diseases.

Avoid strenuous outdoor activities during peak hours of sun (10am – 4pm).

Try to rest often in shaded areas.

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