Northwestern Health Unit urges public to stay safe in harmful heat
Jesse Bonello - Staff Writer
The Northwestern Health Unit (NWHU) is urging the public to stay safe in the heat throughout the summer.
The NWHU released a statement on June 21 that provided instructions and tips on how to stay safe this summer in northwestern Ontario.
The statement instructions listed seeking shade, wearing sunscreen and staying hydrated as key steps to staying safe in the summer sun.
The statement read, “The NWHU is encouraging residents and visitors to spend time getting active and exploring the great outdoors. Whether you are hitting the trails, out on the water, playing at a park, or having fun at the beach there are things you can do to ensure you, your family and friends stay safe.”
NWHU health promoter with environmental health Stephanie Charles said in the statement, “…Too much heat and too much sun can be dangerous.”
This statement has become all too true as residents dealt with harmful rays last weekend. The town dealt with a three day heat event that ended with severe heat and thunderstorm warnings on July 8. The forecast from the 9-15 is filled with lots of sun and temperatures creeping into the 30s.
The Weather Network said the heat warning was issued because it posed an elevated risk of heat illnesses, such as heat stroke and heat exhaustion.
The NWHU says that symptoms of heat illness include: dizziness, weakness, fainting, nausea or vomiting, headache, confusion, extreme thirst and rapid breathing/heartbeat.
Charles said staying hydrated and keeping cool are key factors to avoiding heat illnesses.
“Make sure you pack essential items to keep you hydrated like water. You’ll also need items that’ll help you stay cool in the sun like a hat, some sunglasses, white clothing and some sunscreen,” said Charles.
The NWHU deals mainly with people, but they mentioned that shade and access to water are important when it comes to keeping your pets safe in the summer sun. She also said algae can be harmful for pets later in the summer.
“For pets, shade and access to water are top priorities. You’ll also want to watch for algae if you take your dog swimming. Later in the season you can get the blue-green algae blooms, which can be harmful for both people and animals but animals are more likely to be exposed,” Charles explained.
For people looking for more information on staying safe outdoors, Charles said the NWHU just released their Healthy Environments App. The App will help people keep track of beach safety, safe drinking water and prevention of tick-borne diseases.
“We released our Healthy Environments App, which people can download from the Apple Store. It’s currently only available on Apple devices, but we’re currently developing an Android version. The app is free and provides people with up to date notifications on beach safety, safe drinking water and the prevention of tick-borne disease,” she concluded.
To download the free Healthy Environments app search “NWHU” or “Healthy Environments” in the App Store or visit www.nwhu.on.ca for the link.