Northern Health reminds residents how to stay cool during summer months

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Northern Health released a statement on how to beat the heat during the coming summer months.

In the following days, the weather will supposedly stay in the low 20s on the high end, with some rain on Sunday and Monday.

Northern Health says that the current forecast for many northern communities calls for daytime highs in the low to mid-30s, with overnight lows down to the mid-teens.

This weather will also cause a rapid snow melt, which will lead to rivers and streams rising rapidly, and Northern Health would like to remind residents to stay safe around waterways.

Northern Health recommends identifying a cooler space in one’s home to sleep in at night if at all possible, meaning changing daily living arrangements and finding an air-conditioned room to stay in on scorching days.

The health authority also mentions checking that fans and air conditioners work.

It recommends installing awnings, shutters, blinds or curtains to keep windows covered during the day and opening the windows at night to keep residences cooler.

The BC Centre of Disease Control (BCCDC) has useful heat-related information on its website, such as types of heat alerts, how to prepare for warm temperatures, symptoms of heat-related illnesses and more.

Those most at risk include older adults, people with pre-existing health conditions, people with mental illnesses, people with substance use disorders, people with limited mobility, people who are marginally housed, people who work in hot environments, and people who are pregnant, infants and young children.

One of the ways Northern Health recommends to help keep cool is spraying the body down with water, wearing a damp shirt, taking a cold shower or bath or sitting with part of the body in water.

It urges residents to drink lots of water and other liquids to avoid dehydration.

On hot days, stay in the shade and use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or more, says Northern Health.

According to the health authority, overheating can start with feeling unwell, headaches and dizziness but can lead to heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Signs of heat exhaustion include heavy sweating, severe headaches, muscle cramps, extreme thirst, and dark urine, says the health authority.

If these symptoms are experienced, seek a cooler environment, drink plenty of water, rest and use water to cool the body.

If heat stroke is experienced, it is considered a medical emergency, the health authority says.

British Columbians are advised to call 911 in the case of a severe medical emergency and less urgent options, such as 811 or urgent care centres or clinics, when it is not an emergency.

BC Emergency Health Services, in partnership with ECOMM, is reminding British Columbians only to dial 9-1-1 for severe or life-threatening injuries.

More information can be found in BC’s Extreme Heat Preparedness Guide.

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