These expert tips can help protect you and your loved ones from extreme heat
The Government of Canada estimates that the number of extremely hot days is expected to more than double in some parts of the country over the next 30 years; and while that may be great news for sun lovers, it could pose problems for the young and the elderly.
Children absorb a lot of heat but aren’t very good at losing it by sweating, leaving them vulnerable to heat stroke. As for the elderly, underlying health issues (breathing, heart, or kidney problems) may be exacerbated by hot weather.
There are two things that are essential to consider: trying to prevent the onset of illness by protecting loved ones from extreme heat and watching for symptoms of heat illness.
London, Ontario-based pediatrician Dr. Michelle Ponti says the challenge facing parents is “that kids don’t recognize symptoms such as thirst or being too hot, because they tend to push through all that while having fun. But preventing heat illness is relatively simple if you set time limits on them playing outside, and ensure they avoid the peak heat hours.”
If being outside during peak hours is unavoidable—such as during a family picnic—then Ponti suggests “finding shade and bringing along sun hats, sunscreen and plenty of liquids.”
Ponti adds that these general guidelines are suitable for the elderly as well. “Again, the key is to prevent heat illness symptoms, which include dizziness, rapid heartbeat and nausea,” she says. “If these symptoms occur, you should immediately move the sufferer to a cool place and provide plenty of liquids to drink, preferably water.”