Environment Canada issued a heat warning for much of southern Alberta Monday afternoon.
The alert covers many communities including Brooks, Strathmore, Vulcan, Drumheller, Three Hills and Medicine Hat.
The agency says it’s forecasting an unusually long duration of high temperatures, which are expected to last longer than a week. Maximum daily temperatures are set to reach at least 32 C and minimum overnight temperatures near 16 C.
People in the affected areas are advised to take the following precautions to protect themselves, their families and their neighbours:
- Consider rescheduling outdoor activities to cooler hours of the day.
- Take frequent breaks from heat, spending time indoors at cooled public buildings (including malls or indoor pools).
- Drink plenty of water and other non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated beverages to stay hydrated.
- Do not leave any person or pet inside a closed vehicle.
- Apply a sunscreen of at least sun protection factor (SPF) 30 at least 20 minutes before heading outdoors. Be sure the SPF 30 screens out both UVA and UVB rays, and reapply frequently.
- Wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses (with a UVA/UVB CSA-certified seal).
- Wear light-coloured long-sleeved shirts and pants that cover skin.
Stuart Brideaux, a public education officer with Alberta Health Services, told NewsTalk 770 that staying hydrated is one of the most basic things that you can do to stay safe in the sun.
“If you know you’re going to be out in the heat and sun, whether you’re working or you’re out for recreation, try to start off your day by being hydrated before you leave. It’s difficult to sort of play catch up throughout the day,” he said. “It’s important to be drinking water constantly but if you can even start your day well-hydrated, that’s number 1.”
According to AHS, children, people with pre-existing health conditions and seniors are more prone to heat-related problems.
“One key thing to remember is young children simply do not tolerate or contend with the heat as well as regular healthy adults. It’s so important to be much more proactive with children, particularly providing them with food, as well as water or juice before they ask or before they say they’re thirsty to keep them well-hydrated,” Brideaux said. “If you’re travelling in a warm or hot vehicle, keep the air conditioning up and keep the vehicle as cool as you can before you arrive at your destination.”
Brideaux said that from a paramedic’s perspective, the number 1 concern is heat stroke and exhaustion.
AHS encourages people to monitor for symptoms of heat stroke or heat exhaustion, such as high body temperature, lack of sweat, confusion, fainting and unconsciousness.