Posted on 07/11/2012, 9:19 am, by mySteinbach

The province of Manitoba is issuing a heat advisory due to higher temperatures and humidity levels that are forecast for an extended period for all of Manitoba, including the north.

The Office of the Chief Provincial Public Health Officer is reminding Manitobans to take precautions to prevent heat-related illness.

Exposure to heat for too long a period can lead to dehydration, heat exhaustion, other serious illnesses or death. Health risks related to heat are higher for older adults, young children, people on certain medications and people with chronic conditions. However, everyone is potentially at risk.

The effects of heat can be reduced by:

• drinking plenty of liquids, preferably water, before feeling thirsty;
• limiting physical activities on very hot  days;
• wearing a wide-brimmed hat or using an umbrella;
• wearing loose-fitting, light-coloured clothing;
• using sunscreen if you are outdoors;
• going to a cool place such as a mall, restaurant or movie theatre for a break from the heat if there is no air conditioning at home;
• taking a cool bath or shower; and
• limiting alcohol consumption.

Remember to check on family members, neighbours and friends when it gets hot, especially older adults and people with chronic conditions. Do not leave people or pets alone in closed, parked vehicles, even for a few minutes. Avoid leaving people or pets in direct sunlight.

Prolonged exposure to heat can lead to a variety of symptoms including headache, nausea, weakness, dizziness, fainting, confusion, rapid breathing and dehydration. If any of these symptoms are associated with heat or sun exposure, move to a cool or shaded place immediately, drink sips of liquids or water, lie down and sponge with cool water. Emergency medical attention may be required depending on the severity of symptoms. Other health conditions can be made worse by heat and long periods of heat can have a greater effect on health.

The effects of heat can build up over a few days if the temperature and humidity does not drop. Plan activities carefully and look for opportunities to get a break from the heat. The elderly, individuals living alone, people with chronic conditions and people on certain medications should take extra care.

Remember the five key points on preventing heat-related illness:

• plan activities carefully,
• hydrate with water,
• seek cool places,
• check on others, and
• know the signs of heat-related illness.

For more information on heat and health, call Health Links-Info Santé at 204-788-8200 or 1 888 315 9257 (toll-free) or visit:

the Manitoba Government
Health Canada
the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority
for workplace concerns