Heat wave advisory in the Pontiac
Prevention methods to stay healthy
Article published on 7 July 2020
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An extreme heat wave started today in the Pontiac Region and will continue for the next four days.

According to Environment Canada, temperatures will exceed 30 degrees during the day and will not drop below 17 degrees at night. The combined temperature and humidity value ​​will reach a humidex factor between 35 and 39.

The Direction de santé publique (DSPU) du Centre intégré de santé et de services sociaux (CISSS) de l’Outaouais wanted to remind the public of the basic instructions for protecting themselves during the heat waves. In addition to certain health measures in place to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Additional precautions due to COVID-19
When going out to public places such as shopping centers, swimming pools, water structures or beaches, it is essential to respect physical distancing, respiratory etiquette and wash your hands before, during if necessary, and after the activity. Wearing a face cover is also recommended if the distance of 2 meters cannot be respected, particularly in a busy place. Children under the age of 2, people with breathing difficulties, people with disabilities or those who are unable to remove their face cover without the help of another person should not wear it.

Who is at risk?
Anyone can develop health issues related to heat, but some people are more at risk, such as:
- Old people;
- Children under the age of 5;
- People with chronic diseases, especially heart, lungs and kidneys diseases, and certain mental health issues;
- People who need help drinking;
- People who work outside or who are exposed to the heat from other sources (eg cooks).

What can extreme heat cause?
It can cause dehydration, the main symptoms of which are:
- Intense thirst;
- Unusual fatigue;
- Headaches;
- dizziness;
- Swelling in the hands, feet and ankles and muscle cramps.

If left untreated, the condition can get worse, up to and including heat stroke, which can be recognized by high body temperature, confusion and fainting. Heat stroke is a medical emergency.

What to do to protect yourself from the heat?
It is recommended :
- Drink lots of water throughout the day, even when you don’t feel thirsty.
- For a breastfed baby, offer the breast on demand. It is perfectly normal for a baby to suckle more often. For babies fed commercial infant formula, offer the bottle more often. For babies over six months, offer water in small quantities after or between drinks;
- Avoid alcoholic and sugary drinks (juice and carbonated drinks) and those containing caffeine (tea, coffee);
- Refresh your skin with a wet towel several times a day;
- For adults, refresh often by taking a fresh shower or bath every day or more if necessary. For babies and children, refresh them by taking a warm bath or shower at least twice a day. Visit an outdoor bathing area available if needed (e.g. water games, swimming pools);
- Spend at least two hours a day in an air-conditioned or cooler place, in your residence or an available public place;
- Close the curtains or blinds when the sun is shining and ventilate if possible at the coolest time (generally very early in the morning);
- Plan activities and outings outside at cooler times of the day;
- Limit the intensity of outdoor activities;
- Dress in light clothing and cover your head with a wide-brimmed hat;
- Stay in the shade as much as possible.

If you have family, friends, or elderly neighbors who are losing their independence, living alone, or who have physical or mental health issues, call or visit them for news. Also offer to bring them cold drinks or to accompany them in air-conditioned or well-ventilated places while respecting the distance and COVID-19 prevention measures.

Caution: Never leave a child or baby alone in a poorly ventilated car or room, even for a few minutes.

If you feel unwell or have questions about your health, call Info-Santé at 811 or ask a nurse or doctor. In an emergency, call 9-1-1.

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