Interior Health issues heat warning reminders

IH issues heat warning

Interior Health has issued a heat warning reminder as temperatures across the province and particularly in the Interior are expected to rise over the next several days.

"As heat continues to build in the Interior, rising temperatures will increase the potential for heat-related illnesses," said the health authority Wednesday morning.

Environment Canada has issued new warnings for areas of Interior Health, including the Thompson-Okanagan.

Excessive heat exposure can lead to weakness, disorientation and exhaustion. In severe cases, it can also lead to heat stroke, which can be a life-threatening medical emergency.

Interior Health has announced cooling centres will be open at COVID-19 vaccination clinics to mitigate heat while waiting for immunization appointments.

Interior Health medical health officers advise that risks from extreme heat exceed risks from COVID-19. Therefore, during heat warnings:

  • Prolonged exposure to high indoor temperature can be life-threatening. Anyone without access to air conditioning should find cooler indoor alternatives to avoid prolonged heat exposure. If you have AC and vulnerable members of your family do not, consider bringing them to your house.
  • Sleep in the coolest room of the house, even if that is not your bedroom. Sleeping in the basement or outside will provide relief to the body overnight.
  • The body stores heat from the core to the skin. Sit in a cool or tepid bath to draw heat from the body into the water.
  • Open windows and doors when the outdoor temperature goes down below the indoor temperature a night, then close the cooler air indoors in the morning by shutting doors and windows and pulling curtains to keep the sun out. Leaving windows open during the day just lets the hot air indoors.
  • Some of the people most susceptible to severe heat related illness and death may not realize they are getting too hot. Check on them in-person, observe their temperature indoors, and notice what it says on their thermostat. Persistent indoor temperatures over 30 can be high risk.
  • Cooling centres will be coordinated by municipalities and no one should be denied access to these centres because of concerns related to crowding or physical distancing.
  • If people are wearing a mask and have difficulty breathing, they should remove the mask, whether they are indoors or outside, as wearing a mask may impact thermal regulation during heat events

Anyone can suffer from heat-related illness, but some people are at greater risk. Take extra care to check on the following people regularly:

Infants and young children, who rely on adults to monitor their environments and to provide them with enough fluid to drink;

  • People who are under-housed with fewer options to avoid prolonged heat exposure;
  • People 65 years or older, or anyone who needs assistance monitoring their wellbeing;
  • People with heart problems and breathing difficulties;
  • People who exercise or who work outside or in a hot environment.

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