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Montreal heat wave prompts more calls to Urgences-Santé

More frequent heat waves are likely to occur across Canada with a warming climate.
More frequent heat waves are likely to occur across Canada with a warming climate. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

The heat wave in Montreal has prompted Urgences-Santé to respond to more calls than usual this weekend.

READ MORE: Scorching heat wave continues on moving day for thousands of Montrealers

“Yesterday, we responded to 1,200 calls — 200 more than normal,” Benoit Garneau, operations chief, told Global News.

“Thirty of these calls were directly related to the heat wave. Probably more were indirectly related.”

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Garneau said many of the calls were from people showing signs of heat stroke, including symptoms like dizziness, fainting and exhaustion.

READ MORE: Heat warnings issued by Environment Canada, MLHU ahead of sweltering long weekend

Urgences-Santé says it has been preparing for the heat wave for at least a week.

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“We have more staff on the road, such as paramedics, more dispatchers inside to take the calls,” Garneau told Global News.

“It’s the third day [of the heat wave], so I think it’s going to be a big one because of the weather.”

Signs of heat stroke and what to do

Early signs of heat stroke include fatigue, difficulty concentrating and dizziness.

READ MORE: By 2100, 75% of the world’s population will face deadly heatwaves

Here are a few ways to avoid getting ill:

  • Drink plenty of water, even before you feel thirsty,
  • Limit alcohol intake,
  • Stay in the shade when possible,
  • Cut back on activities that require effort,
  • Wear a hat and sunscreen,
  • Wear lightweight clothing preferably in cotton to allow sweat evaporation,
  • Elderly people should avoid going out, especially if they are on medication.

If you think you are suffering from heat-related illness:

  • Seek shelter or a cool place, rest and drink water,
  • If possible, use a fan to create air movement,
  • Use blinds or shades to filter direct sunlight.