June 18, 2010
FREDERICTON (CNB) - New Brunswickers can best enjoy summer by taking steps to avoid heat-related illnesses, says the regional medical officer of health, Dr. Yves Léger.
Anyone can be at risk for heat-related illness if exposed to excessive heat. When Environment Canada issues an advisory that the humidex is approaching 35 to 40 degrees, or if there is a succession of several hot days, people are at an increased risk of heat illness. A humidex advisory by Environment Canada will contain appropriate health advice.
Those most at risk for heat illness include infants and young children, the elderly, people who are overweight, and those with chronic medical conditions, especially kidney diseases.
People on certain medications that impair the body's ability to regulate heat or perspiration, especially people with mental-health conditions, are also at risk.
Even young and healthy individuals can be affected by heat if they engage in behaviours that put them at risk, such as taking part in strenuous physical activities in hot weather.
"Muscle cramps, fatigue, headache, and nausea are all symptoms of heat-related illness," Léger said. "Anyone experiencing symptoms of heat-related illness should be moved to a cool, preferably air-conditioned environment, drink cool, non-alcoholic beverages, and rest. If symptoms worsen or are severe, seek immediate medical attention. What may start as a milder form of heat-related illness might progress to heat stroke, which could be life-threatening."
To prevent heat illness, New Brunswickers should take these precautions:
MEDIA CONTACT: Marie-Andrée Bolduc, communications, Department of Health, 506-444-3506.