Health

Beware of heat stroke!

Heat strokes occur more often in babies and elderlies. Because it can be life-threatening, it must be treated quickly.

Symptoms

Some people experience many symptoms while others will only experience a few. Fortunately, most of them are quite easy to detect.

  • High fever : body temperature up to more than 40 degrees;
  • Hot and dry skin;
  • Drowsiness;
  • Accelerated heart rate;
  • Restlessness;
  • Sunken eyes and dilated pupils;
  • Nausea and vomiting;
  • Unconsciousness;
  • Confusion;
  • Convulsions.

What to do

Act quickly because an untreated heat stroke can lead to coma and permanent brain damage. If your symptoms are severe and have been lasting for a while, call an ambulance or go to the hospital.

  • Make sure that your child doesn't choke on his tongue and check his breathing and heartbeat. If he goes unconscious, lay him on his side.
  • Cool down and rehydrate the victim by removing clothes and offering water to drink.
  • Apply a wet cloth on neck, armpits and groin. Use cool but not ice cold water to avoid thermal shock.
Environment Canada issues Heat and Humidex Advisories when temperatures are expected to reach or exceed 30°C and the Humidex value (a combination of humidity and temperature) is expected to reach or exceed 40°C.

Prevention

If it’s too hot for you, it's too hot for baby; don't overdress babies.

During a heat wave

  • Stay away from hot and humid environments, especially between 10 AM and 4 PM, when the sun is at its highest overhead.
  • Avoid leaving your baby in a closed stroller in which the air does not circulate.
  • Dress your baby with lightweight clothes.
  • Give your baby a drink every half hour. Your baby will feel thirsty even if he cannot let you know he is! If you are breastfeeding, breastfeed more often for shorter periods. Also, regularly offer a few sips of cooled boiled water. Offer water, fruit juices or lightly salted vegetable broths to infants and toddlers to avoid dehydration.
  • Always bring water when you leave the house in hot weather. Be prepared in case of an unexpected traffic jam or car breakdown!
  • Avoid long car rides and stop frequently to make sure your child is well. Since drowsiness is a heat stroke symptom, be aware if your child is sleeping abnormally or for a long period.
  • Moisten your baby’s body frequently with a damp cloth, refreshing it regularly. You may also spray water on your child using a spray bottle.
  • Install a sun-visor in your car.
  • If it’s really hot indoors, use an oscillating fan in front of a bowl filled with ice to lower the room temperature by a few degrees.
  • Never leave a child in a car parked under the sun.
  • Do not hesitate to seek doctor advice if you notice any symptoms.

You will find more tips in our article 15 ideas to cool down.

Other tips

If you’re suffering from the heat, it’s probably because you don’t have an air conditioner at home or at the office. Try these ideas:

  • It’s the best time to do the groceries, go to the shopping center, library, movie theater, or any other air conditioned place that will allow you to cool down for a few hours. Take your time, have an ice cream cone, drink a cold beverage…
  • Drink, drink, drink! Drink a lot of water, not necessarily a lot at a time but drink often to replace the water you lose due to heat and sweat. Avoid sugary drinks that will not quench your thirst as much as water will.
  • A cold cloth on your neck will bring you relief. Rinse it with cold water and wipe your face and neck as often as you can.
  • Try a footbath in cool water; it will slightly lower your body temperature.
  • Close window blinds to keep the sun from warming the room.
  • Showering or bathing in fresh water will bring you instant relief, but unfortunately the benefits won’t last. Go back often during the day, and just before you go to bed.
  • Wear damp clothes! Especially if you’re in your backyard!
  • If you can, go camping in your basement (especially to sleep), it’s always cooler than upstairs.
  • Slow down! Stop running around, choose quiet activities with the kids, or visit waterparks. Even at work, take your time, you’ll have plenty of time to be active when the heat goes down!

Warning: This is provided as general information and should not replace the advice of a doctor.

Image de Sonia Cosentino

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