Heat advisory issued in EOHU region

But are bedside portable fans allowed in nursing homes?

EASTERN ONTARIO — The mercury’s rising, and the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) has issued an extended heat warning advising residents of the five Eastern Counties to take steps to prevent heat-related illnesses.

Environment and Climate Change Canada is forecasting at least three days of high temperatures beginning today (May 26).

The EOHU points out that everyone is at risk during a heat event, but health risks are greater for older adults, infants and young children, people with chronic illnesses, people who work in the heat, people who exercise in the heat, homeless people and
low-income earners.

It offers the following tips to reduce the risk of a heat illness:

• Drink plenty of cool liquids, especially water, before you feel thirsty to decrease your risk of dehydration.
Thirst is not a good indicator of dehydration.
• Reschedule or plan outdoor activities during cooler parts of the day.
• Wear loose-fitting, light-coloured clothing made of breathable fabric. Dress babies and young children very lightly and do not bundle them in blankets or heavy clothing.
• Never leave people or pets in your care inside a parked vehicle or in direct sunlight.
• Take a break from the heat by spending a few hours in a cool place.
• Take cool showers or baths until you feel refreshed.
• Prepare meals that don’t need to be cooked in your oven.
• Block sun out by closing awnings, curtains or blinds during the day.
• Avoid sun exposure. Shade yourself by wearing a wide-brimmed, breathable hat or using an umbrella.
• Limit your physical activity.
• Be aware that children are unable to perspire as much as adults and are more prone to heat stress than adults.
• Ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist if the medications you are taking or any health condition you may have increase your health risk in the heat and follow their recommendations.

Heat illnesses include heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat fainting, heat edema (swelling of hands, feet and ankles), heat rash and heat cramps (muscle cramps). Symptoms include: dizziness or fainting, nausea or vomiting, headache, rapid breathing and heartbeat, extreme thirst, and decreased urination with unusually dark yellow urine. If you experience any of these symptoms during extreme heat, immediately move to a cool place and drink liquids. Water is best.

Heat stroke is a medical emergency, the EOHU also points out. Call 911 immediately if you are caring for someone who has a high body temperature and is either unconscious, confused or has stopped sweating. While waiting for help, cool the person right away by: moving them to a cool place if you can, applying cold water to large areas of the skin or clothing, and fanning the person as much as possible.

Stay alert, take precautions and remember to frequently contact neighbours, friends and older family members, especially those who are chronically ill, to make sure that they are cool and hydrated.

Are fans allowed in nursing homes?

Meanwhile, as temperatures began to soar, Nation Valley News asked Eastern Ontario Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis yesterday if residents of area nursing homes are possibly being denied bedside portable fans in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The doctor acknowledged there might be a theory of such fans spreading infected droplets and promised to get back with further information.

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