With the summer heat finally here, Interior Health and WorkSafeBC are reminding residents about the dangers of hot weather and the importance of planning ahead.
Environment Canada has issued heat warnings for several parts of the province this week, with daytime temperatures expected in the mid to high 30’s all week.
The first heat wave of the season can lead to some people overheating because they are not yet acclimatized to warmer weather.
According to WorkSafeBC, during last year’s heat dome, they accepted 115 claims from workers related to heat stress.
“We are hoping that the serious heat wave in 2021 has raised awareness about the dangers of working in high temperatures,” says Suzana Prpic, Senior Manager of Prevention Field Services at WorkSafeBC.
“Whether you are working outdoors on a farm or construction site, or indoors in a restaurant kitchen, or in a factory—heat stress can cause serious injuries and even death.”
Interior Health has issued a heat warning reminder.
“We are concerned about heat. Generally when we issue a warning it is because we need people to take extra measures to protect themselves so that we don’t see anymore illness or death from heat. It is really important that people are taking care of themselves, they are drinking water and they are checking on everybody else to make sure that they are OK,” said Dr. Carol Fenton, medical health officer.
If not recognized and treated early, heat stress can lead to heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
Symptoms of heat exhaustion include excess sweating, dizziness, fainting and muscle cramps. Symptoms of heat stroke include cessation of sweating, an increased breathing rate, confusion, seizures and even cardiac arrest.
IH has a list of ways for people to stay healthy during the heat wave:
- Spray your body down with water, wear a damp shirt, take a cool shower or bath, or sit with part of your body in water to cool down if you are feeling too hot.
- Drink plenty of water and other liquids to stay hydrated, even if you are not feeling thirsty
- Take it easy, especially during the hottest hours of the day.
- Stay in the shade and use a broad spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or more.
- Signs of overheating include feeling unwell, headache, and dizziness. Take immediate action to cool down if you are overheating.
When to call 911:
- In cases of heat stroke, loss of consciousness, disorientation, confusion, severe nausea or vomiting or very dark urine or no urine.
- In general when there is chest pain, difficulty breathing, loss of consciousness, severe burns, choking, convulsions that are not stopping, a drowning, a severe allergic reaction, a head injury, signs of a stroke or a major trauma.
The City of West Kelowna says it is prepared to assist in an extreme heat emergency for the community with the identification of indoor and outdoor cooling stations.
Additional heat information is available on the Interior Health public website.