Ways to Stay Cool: Preventing Heat Stress
The following actions should be taken to prevent heat stress during any level of heat alert:
- Drink plenty of fluids, especially water, before feeling thirsty. Beverages that contain alcohol are not recommended as they may cause the body to lose fluids and can interfere with the body's ability to cool itself.
- Never leave those in your care inside a parked car or in direct sunlight. Temperatures can rise to 52ºC (125ºF) within 20 minutes in an enclosed vehicle when the outside temperature is 33ºC (93ºF). Leaving the car windows slightly open will not keep the inside of the vehicle at a safe temperature.
- Plan outdoor activities for cooler parts of the day. Remember mosquitoes will also be active at those times. Protect yourself with insect repellent.
- Keep sun out with curtains or blinds.
- Keep windows closed if the temperature outside is higher than it is inside;
- If the temperature outside at night drops lower than it is inside, open the windows if it is safe to do so;
- Avoid exposure to the sun. If sun exposure is unavoidable, protect yourself from sunburn by using a sunscreen with SPF of 15 or higher and apply it at least 30 minutes before a sun exposure.
- Wear light coloured, loose-fitted and ventilated clothing. A ventilated, light- coloured, wide brimmed hat is also recommended.
- Spend a few hours in a cool place or in an air-conditioned location (mall, library, church, shaded park or at a pool).
- Make arrangements to spend time or sleep in a cooler place.
- Visit older family members, neighbours and friends, especially the chronically ill, to make sure they are cool and hydrated. Those living in an apartment with no air conditioning are at greater risk.
- Avoid using the stove for cooking a meal.
- Be aware that fans alone may not provide enough cooling when the temperature and humidity are high.
- Take cool showers or baths until refreshed.
- Organizers of sporting events should modify the rules to accommodate additional water breaks or consider rescheduling outdoor activities.
- Make arrangements to move high-risk people living in apartments with no air-conditioning to a cool location;
- Sprinkle clothing with water
- Splash cool water on your face and back of neck.