PEI

Hydrate and don't exert yourself: How to avoid illness in the heat

It's important to take precautions when the weather is hot and humid, says P.E.I.'s deputy chief public health officer.

Deputy chief public health officer gives some tips

Charlottetown busker Alex Matheson has been drinking a lot of water to manage the heat. (Steve Bruce/CBC)

It's important to take precautions when the weather is hot and humid, says P.E.I.'s deputy chief public health officer.

With the Island four days into a heat warning, Dr. David Sabapathy has some tips for avoiding heat illnesses, and signs to look for.

Children and the elderly often struggle to regulate their body temperature, he said. People with chronic heart or lung conditions are also more susceptible than the general population.

"We need to pay special attention to them."

Watch for symptoms

Sabapathy identified three different heat-related illnesses while speaking with CBC News: Compass host Louise Martin.

Symptoms of heat illness include dizziness, fatigue, headache, a faster heart rate, breathing quickly and a sudden thirst, Sabapathy said.

What we see is people get into trouble when they're physically exerting themselves too hard in this hot weather.— Dr. David Sabapathy, deputy chief public health officer

Then you can progress to heat exhaustion, which includes cramps, strong fatigue and the need to lie down.

Sabapathy recommends moving to a cool area and drinking lots of fluids. Water is the best hydrating beverage to drink, he said.

Heatstroke needs immediate medical attention

In cases of heatstroke, the victim is likely to have reduced consciousness and isn't able to respond, Sabapathy said.

"Those people need medical attention immediately, so call 911."

'People get into trouble when they're physically exerting themselves too hard in this hot weather,' says Dr. David Sabapathy, deputy chief of public health officer. (CBC)

What causes many cases of heat illness?

"What we see is people get into trouble when they're physically exerting themselves too hard in this hot weather. You get dehydrated, then you can get into heat exhaustion or heatstroke," Sabapathy said.

Reduce alcohol intake

He suggests rescheduling outdoor activities to a cooler time of day and taking frequent breaks.

"From our point of view, it's really just getting as much fluid into you as possible."

And don't drink significant amounts of alcohol, Sabapathy said.

"That's not going to keep you hydrated."

More P.E.I. News

With files from Louise Martin

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