People in the southwest regions of the province are being warned by Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living about potential hot conditions.
The forecast is calling for continued high temperatures in southwest Manitoba including Virden, Souris, Melita, Boissevain and Turtle Mountain Provincial Park. Temperatures are expected to return to normal seasonal values on Sunday.
Everyone is at risk for the effects of heat. However, during a period of prolonged heat, older adults and people with chronic illness have a particularly high risk for heat illness, especially if they are living in an urban area or do not have air conditioning.
Others at greater health risks to heat include infants and young children, people who work or exercise in the heat, and people experiencing homelessness, mobility issues or altered mental status.
Take care of yourself and others. Regularly check on neighbours, friends and older family members, especially those who are ill or living alone, to make sure they are cool and drinking water. Visiting is best because it is easier to identify signs of heat illness that could be missed over the phone.
Never leave people or pets alone in a parked vehicle or direct sunlight.
Certain drugs such as amphetamines, cocaine, MDMA (ecstasy), alcohol, and cannabis can alter mental status as well as increase the risk of hyperthermia. Some medications can also increase your risk, so it is important to ask your doctor or pharmacist whether the medication you’re taking affects your ability to cope with heat.
If you have any of the following symptoms, your body may be overheating and at risk of heat illness or heat stroke:
• red, hot and dry skin;
• rapid weak pulse; and
• a complete or partial loss of consciousness.
What to do
If these symptoms occur, immediately move to a cool place and drink water.
If someone has a high body temperature, is unconscious or confused, call for help. While waiting, cool the person right away by moving them to a cool place, apply cold water to large areas of the skin or clothing, and fan the person as much as possible.
Heat illnesses are preventable. The health effects of heat can be reduced by:
• drinking plenty of liquids, especially water, before you feel thirsty;
• wearing loose-fitting, light-coloured clothing and a wide-brimmed hat;
• planning outdoor activities during cooler times of the day;
• limiting alcohol consumption;
• avoiding sun exposure and considering cancelling or rescheduling outdoor activities;
• going to a cool place such as a mall, community centre, public library or place of worship;
• taking a cool shower or bath; and
• blocking sun out by closing awnings, curtains or blinds during the day.