It’s hot out there! How to take care of yourself and your loved ones

Summer time is usually a joyous time. The pools are open, children go to summer camps, and families can spend more time together than they could during the school year. With summer comes fun times, but there are also days when it is sweltering hot outside. It is very important to keep your body cool and to stay hydrated, especially for people taking certain medications as heat can affect the way a medication works on an individual.

In order to protect yourself and those you are caring for from the heat, here are important suggestions:

  • Spend at least two hours a day in a cool or air-conditioned area: This can be your home, or a public place like the library or the mall. This will reduce your increased body heat level. Using a fan does not help as much as air-conditioning.
  • Drink lots of water and juice, even if you are not thirsty: Do not wait until you are thirsty to drink. It is important that you stay properly hydrated at all times, especially in high temperatures. Avoid drinking alcohol in extreme heat, for it can have negative side effects on your body. Many people say that drinking 6-8 glasses of water a day is good, but if a doctor suggests you drink more follow his recommendations. A good trick to ensure you drink enough water every day is to bring a bottle of water with you everywhere you go.
  • Take cool showers or baths: You can also wet your skin with a damp towel. It is important to do this because it keeps your body cool, and thus you are more protected from the heat. It also stimulates blood circulation.
  • Wear light clothing: If you wear many layers and/or thick clothing, then you will increase your body temperature significantly. Light layers allows your skin to breathe and feels better on you, especially on hot days.
  • Contact family and friends: It is important to keep contact with family and friends, especially if they live alone or have less autonomy. A simple phone call to make sure they are okay can identify if there is something wrong.

The following is a list of symptoms that suggest a call to Info-Santé (811) MAY be indicated:

  • Headaches
  • Muscular cramps
  • Swollen hands, feet and ankles
  • Heat rash
  • Unusual fatigue or exhaustion
  • General discomfort
  • Dehydration

The following list of symptoms indicate that immediate medical attention is required:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Confusion
  • Hallucinations
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Heat stroke:
    • Body temperature over 39.5 degrees F
    • Dry skin, hot and red or cold and pale
    • Dizziness and vertigo
    • Confused and illogical speech
    • Aggressiveness or bizarre behaviour
    • General discomfort

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to call Info-Santé (811).

Have a great and safe summer!

Based on information from www.sante.gouv.qc.ca.