1. Know the factors
that affect your risk of heat illnesses. These factors include:
- Metabolic Rate
- Medical Risks
2. Drink more fluids (non-alcoholic), regardless of your activity level. Do not wait until you are thirsty to drink.
Warning: if your doctor generally limits the amount of fluid you drink or if you are taking medication for fluid retention (water pills), ask him/her how much you should drink while the weather is hot.
3. Do not drink liquids that contain caffeine, alcohol or large amounts of sugar. These substances actually cause you to lose more body fluids. Also, avoid very cold drinks because they can cause stomach cramps.
4. Stay indoors and if at all possible, stay in an air-conditioned place. If your home does not have air conditioning, 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. Call Peel Health at 905-799-7700 to see if there are any heat-relief shelters in your area.
5. Electric fans will not prevent heat-related illness when the temperature or humidex is 40 degrees Celsius or higher. Taking cool showers, bathing or moving to an air-conditioned place are much better ways to cool off.
6. Wear lightweight, light-coloured, loose-fitting clothing.
7. Never leave anyone, including pets, in a closed, parked vehicle.
8. Check regularly on those people at high risk for heat related illnesses.
If you must be out in the heat:
- Be aware that the hottest time of the day and the most intense UV radiation is between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.
- Schedule outdoor activities and exercise during morning and evening hours whenever possible
- If you must exercise in the heat, drink two to four glasses of cool, non-alcoholic fluids each hour
- Rest often in cool or shady areas
Source: CDC, National Centre for Environmental Health
Protect yourself from the sun by:
- Wearing a wide brimmed hat to keep you cooler
- Wearing sunglasses to protect your eyes from UV
- Putting on sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher
- Wearing lightweight, light-coloured, loose fitting clothing
Source: CDC, National Center for Environmental Health, Office of Communications, August 2000. "Walking, Heat Factors to Consider - Heat Stress Risks and Exercise Guidelines"