Island Health warns of heat-related illness ahead of hot, sunny weather

NANAIMO – Health authority suggests checking in on people vulnerable to heat-related illness.

Island Health is reminding residents to check in on each other during high temperatures forecast for the next few days.

Environment Canada issued a special weather advisory for the province, predicting temperatures of 30 degrees for the Nanaimo area. The hot weather is expected to continue through Canada Day (July 1).

Anyone can suffer heat-related illness at any time but some people are at greater risk, including infants and young children, people age 65 or older, people with a mental illness and those who are physically ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure.

The health authority suggests checking in twice a day on adults who live alone and watch for signs of heat exhaustion, which includes heavy sweating, muscle cramps, rash, fatique and headache.

To beat the heat, Island Health recommends keeping hydrated by drinking more fluids like water and avoiding alcohol, caffeine and large amounts of sugar.

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.

Electric fans may provide comfort, but when the temperature is above 27 degrees, 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 and never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle.

If you go outside, apply sunscreen to exposed skin, early and often, at least 15-30 minutes prior to going out. Seek shade and keep skin covered as much as possible when spending time in the sun.

For more information on heat-related illness, please visit Health Link B.C. or call the B.C. Nurse Line at 811.