30 Degrees? I hate to complain BUT...


By Nancy Truscott, Parish Nurse

Posted on July 29, 2015

I said I wouldn’t complain about the summer heat, but this is stressful! Today is expected to be the hottest day of the summer, with temperatures potentially soaring to 34 C. 
 
How can I handle this heat and get the most out of summer?
 
Certainly I want to avoid burns, dehydration and heat exhaustion. So what do the experts say? Am I doing everything I can to still enjoy summer and be safe?
 
Let’s look at a list of safety measures to avoid heat-related emergencies. 
 
•  Drink plenty of cool fluids – this is the most important action you can take to prevent heat-related emergencies. Move over coffee!
•  Avoid being outdoors during the hottest part of the day. That rules out weeding the garden from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
•  Slow down your activities as it gets hotter and don’t work or exercise for too long at a time. Maybe this isn’t the week to cycle to work.
•  Take frequent breaks in a cool or shaded area to let your body cool off.  This will help you cope better with short periods of extreme heat. How about a good summer read?
•  Dress for the heat and for your activity level. Maybe the office code of dress can be modified at work, if needed.  
•  Wear a hat when you’re in the sun. Wear light-coloured cotton clothing to absorb sweat and let air circulate and heat escape. I find it helpful to wear a hat even on an overcast day because of the sun’s rays.
•  Avoid caffeine and alcohol because they can cause dehydration, which stops your body from controlling its temperature properly. I take an afternoon nap because I am not sleeping as well at night.  Then I don’t rely on coffee to keep me awake all day. What a privilege a siesta is. 
 
I am concerned to see roofers next door replacing a roof this week. They aren’t even wearing hats. At least they are starting work at 7 a.m., which allows them to avoid the hottest part of the day. But what dangers might they run into in a heat related emergency?
 
What are Heat-Related Emergencies?
 
•  Heat cramps
•  Heat exhaustion
•  Heat stroke
 
They are at risk of muscle cramps but can progress to nausea, dizziness, exhaustion and elevated body temperature. That can progress to heat stroke: high body temperature, red hot, dry skin; irritable, bizarre behaviour; progressive loss of consciousness; rapid weak pulse and rapid shallow breathing and seizures. 
 
Call 911 if you suspect someone has heat stroke. Move the person to a cool place and cool the body any way you can until the paramedics arrive.
 
Hopefully common sense prevails in our city. If you are in need, there are cooling centres available across the city.  
 
Please check on loved ones and neighbours, especially isolated seniors to make sure they are alright. 
 
[Source: Canadian Red Cross guidelines]