Precautions to protect from heat, sun

By Rob Vogt
As the temperatures soar into the mid-30 degrees Celsius, Alberta Health Services is providing information so people can protect themselves from the heat and sun.
On July 9, Alberta Health Services announced Albertans are encouraged to take some simple precautions to safely enjoy activities when it’s hot and sunny this summer.
Many factors can cause heat stress, such as ultraviolet radiation, temperature and humidity. Make sure to check on loved ones, especially those who may be socially isolated or live in housing without air conditioning, to see how they are coping. Older adults, infants, pregnant women and people with underlying health conditions are at greatest risk from extreme heat.
Heat stroke is a life-threatening medical emergency, which requires medical attention as soon as possible. Symptoms of heat stroke include confusion, severe restlessness or anxiety, nausea and vomiting, fast heart rate, lack of sweat, dizziness, fainting, or unconsciousness.
For emergencies, visit the nearest local emergency department or call 911.
Here are a few ways to avoid the heat this summer:
Keep cool at home
• Close blinds or curtains and use awnings and shutters.
• Do activities early or later in the day when it is cooler.
• Use air conditioning if possible. If you don’t have air conditioning, go into the basement or visit a cool location, such as a shopping centre or library.
• Take frequent cool showers or baths and apply a cold towel to your neck.
Keep cool when outdoors
• Plan a place to take breaks in the shade to cool off.
• Drink lots of water and other non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated beverages to stay hydrated.
• Avoid strenuous activities if possible.
Protect your skin from the sun
• Wear a broad-rimmed hat, long-sleeved shirts and pants that cover skin with UV-protective-labelled clothing.
• Be aware certain medications increase the health risks from extreme heat exposure. Find out if your medication causes you to be more sensitive to sunlight or heat stress.
• Choose a water-resistant sunscreen that has a broad-spectrum sun protection factor of 30 or higher. Apply sunscreen generously 20 minutes before going outside and reapply frequently and especially after swimming, strenuous exercise or toweling off.
Pay attention to your pets
• Make sure they have fresh water and keep them out of the heat as much as possible.
• Never leave a pet unattended in a vehicle.
• Brush your pet’s coat to promote air circulation. Do not shave them as their fur protects them from the sun.
• Use a spray bottle to give pets a cool misting.
• Walk pets on the grass if possible and take walks during cooler times of the day.