Symptoms of heat-related illness include rapid breathing, dizziness or fainting, vomiting, rapid heartbeat, extreme thirst, decreased urination and unusually dark yellow urine.
During heat events, remember to check-in with family, friends and neighbours, especially seniors who live on their own. It's best to call or video-conference – if that is not possible, practice physical distancing.
Due to COVID-19, some locations that normally provide relief from the heat, such as shopping malls and cooling centres, have reopened. Please check with your local municipality for operating hours.
If you experience any of the mentioned symptoms, cool off as soon as possible by taking a cool bath or shower, move to a shaded area, drink some water and rest. If the symptoms persist, contact your doctor or call 911.
Peel Health recommends the following steps to be taken to prevent heat related illness:
Establish a policy and plan to deal with extreme temperatures.
When outdoors, stay in the shade whenever possible (natural or artificial structures). Especially limit time outdoors when temperatures and UV radiation are most intense, between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Monitor daily heat advisories and adjust outdoor activity schedules if possible.
When in the sun, wear a wide brimmed hat, UV protective sunglasses, and loose-fitting long shirts and pants.
As much as possible, ensure indoor temperatures are comfortable.
Ensure children are well hydrated. Plain water is the liquid of choice, diluted fruit juice is okay.
Monitor children in wheelchairs and check the temperature of metal and vinyl parts.
Check the temperature of metal and plastic playground equipment.
Staff should be aware of signs and symptoms of heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. Follow first aid procedures promptly.
Staff should role model appropriate heat and sun safety behaviours.
Apply sunscreen (SPF 15 or higher), 20-30 minutes before going outside to ensure absorption.
When using DEET insect repellent, apply 20-30 minutes after sunscreen has been applied.
NEVER leave children in a closed parked vehicle.
During a Heat Alert
Check on children and other colleagues
Follow the General Guidelines AND
Activate your policy or plan for extreme temperatures.
Limit strenuous activity outdoors.
Provide or encourage frequent drinks to ensure adequate hydration. Plain water is the liquid of choice, diluted fruit juice is okay.
Check regularly on young children and those children who are physically challenged or in wheelchairs and who have chronic illnesses such as asthma.
During an Extreme Heat Alert
Check on children and other colleagues
Follow Heat Alert Guidelines AND
Cancel outdoor sports events if possible. Participation in strenuous outdoor activities during extreme heat advisories may be dangerous.
If possible, move outdoor activities indoors to an air conditioned facility.
Heat Illness Signs and Treatment
Sunburn: redness, pain, swelling of skin, blisters, fever and headaches.
leave water blisters intact to speed healing and avoid infection. If breaking of blister occurs, apply dry sterile dressing. Serious cases should be seen by a physician.
Heat Cramps: heavy sweating can cause painful muscle spasms usually in the legs but possible in the abdomen
apply firm pressure on cramping muscles or gently massage to relieve spasm; give sips of water, if nausea occurs discontinue sips of water, move person to a cooler place to rest in a comfortable position. Observe the person carefully for changes in condition.
Heat Exhaustion: heavy sweating, weakness, cold, pale and clammy skin; weak pulse, fainting and vomiting, core temperature usually 38.8 Celsius or higher, but normal temperature is possible.
get person out of sun, move person to a cooler environment, lay person down and loosen clothing, apply cool wet cloths, give sips of water. If nausea occurs, discontinue sips of water; if vomiting continues, seek immediate medical attention.
Heatstroke: severe medical emergency, high body temperature (41 degrees Celsius or higher), hot, dry skin, rapid and strong pulse, possible unconsciousness
Call 911, if unable to get person to medical help immediately, do the following:
Move person to a cooler environment
Remove outer clothing
Reduce body temperature using lukewarm (not cold) water to bathe/sponge the person