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Heat waves present a very real risk. Find out how to get through them without concerns, especially if you are over a certain age or if you care for a baby.
Ah, summer! What a wonderful season where Mother Nature reveals herself in all her glory! The beauty of parks and gardens, bird songs, and of course, the heat from the sun helps to reenergize us before the return of Old Man Winter. Heat is usually revitalizing, but it can become oppressive when the thermometer spikes and the humidity sets in.
When weather forecasts project temperatures of at least 30°C and a humidex (combination of temperature and humidity in a single measure to reflect the temperature perceived) of 40°C or more, Environment Canada issues a Heat Warning. In this case, we speak of oppressive heat or a heat wave, which present a danger to health, especially for babies and for the elderly.
Due to global warming, periods of oppressive heat are more and more frequent, prolonged, and intense. Extreme heat also means risk of dehydration. Other than symptoms such as dry mouth, hypotension, and muscle cramps, dehydration due to overexposure to extreme heat can cause heatstroke.
Heatstroke occurs when the body overheats and is unable to cool down. This can cause fever, headache, dizziness, fainting, and in the worst cases, death. Heatstroke is a medical emergency and requires immediate medical attention. For additional information, read the following text: Heatstroke: how to prevent and treat it and Becoming dehydrated in summer is risky!
Oppressive heat also predisposes people to other health problems, such as:
Elderly people are generally more vulnerable to the effects of a heat wave, particularly if they:
Various medications (i.e. diuretics, antiparkinsonian and antiarrhythmic agents, etc.) can interfere with the body’s thermoregulation mechanisms, which predisposes a person to diseases triggered by heat. Don’t hesitate to speak to your pharmacist to find out if your drug therapy can have this type of effect.
Some medical conditions can increase the risk of heatstroke or another heat-related illness. Additionally, oppressive heat can make various chronic diseases worse. Thus, it is important to be very prudent if you suffer from one of the following conditions:
Even if you still feel young at heart and have a sharp mind, you could be more vulnerable to heat waves due to your age. That said, there’s no need to worry if you follow this advice:
In addition to contributing to our comfort, air-conditioning is one of the most effective ways of protecting against heat-related illnesses. However, it is crucial to adequately use and maintain your air-conditioning unit. If it is set too cold or if it is not cleaned regularly, it can cause infections, intensify allergy symptoms, and worsen respiratory diseases like asthma. The following text: Air-conditioning and its effects on health, provides thorough information on the subject.
Due to their different metabolism, babies are particularly sensitive to heat. Vigilance is important during a heat wave and the following advice will help you to take good care of your little one:
Remember that your pharmacist is there to answer any health-related questions you may have.
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