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The days are getting longer, the weather is getting milder and the sun is becoming warmer; summer has settled in comfortably. Aside from the joys of warm weather, summer may bring some inconveniences. Periods of extreme and oppressive heat are more and more frequent in Quebec and may lead to serious consequences for those who are at risk.
In order to keep its temperature balanced and release excessive heat, the body has certain mechanisms, such as perspiration. If the body has trouble keeping its temperature within the normal range, certain effects may occur. The following symptoms may appear:
In some cases, dehydration symptoms may also appear, including thirst, decreased need to pass urine, dark urine, dry skin and fast pulse and breathing. You must be vigilant and see a health professional if you have these symptoms.
Some individuals are at higher risk of having complications if exposed to extreme heat, such as:
Babies and children under the age of 5 are among those with the highest risk of heat-related complications. The deterioration of a child’s health status, especially a young child, can happen quickly and be hard to detect. It’s important to be vigilant and to see a doctor if symptoms appear. If in doubt, don’t hesitate to see a health professional. During a heat wave, it’s important that your child remain well-hydrated. Have him/her drink water regularly (every 20 minutes). In the case of a breast-fed baby, increase the frequency of feedings. Also, protect your children from the heat by having them wear a hat and light clothing. Moreover, avoid outdoor activities, especially between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., when the heat is at its strongest.
Certain factors increase the risk of heat-related malaise. For example:
Heatstroke is the most serious complication of heat-related harmful effects. It occurs when the body is unable to adequately cool down. It can occur suddenly during a heat wave and must be treated quickly, as it is considered a medical emergency. The following are symptoms of heatstroke:
Fortunately, certain precautions can be taken to reduce the impact of heat on your health and that of your loved ones. Here are a few of them:
Thanks to these few preventive measures, you will be able to enjoy summer, while reducing heat-related risks.
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