Heat warnings have rolled into Saskatchewan as a stretch of above 30 degree temps are looking to take up residency for an extended period with only some small reprieve. We are also seeing smoke moving in reducing air quality. Heat warnings have become more common practice in recent years than they used to be.  But they are important in planning for and mitigating dangers associated with extreme heat, especially to those susceptible like the elderly, small children, and those with underlying medical conditions. 

Dr. David Torr with Saskatchewan Health Authority says "When it comes to extreme heat everyone is at risk"  and that everyone should take precautions. He also notes that a lot of people in Saskatchewan work outdoors in these temperatures, some in heavy safety clothing and gear that add to the heat, can be more prone to heat exhaustion and heat stroke. 

A few key points on limiting your risk of complications due to extreme heat include:

  • Staying out of direct exposure of the sun
  • Stay in a cool place away from the elements. In your workplace, home, or a public space like civic centres. 
  • Drink plenty of fluids. Water is best but try and avoid ice as it confuses your body's cooling mechanisms
  • Wear cool light clothing if possible

Signs of heat exhaustion:

  • Heavy Sweating
  • Weakness or Fatigue
  • Cool, Pale, Clammy Skin
  • Muscle Cramps
  • Dizziness or Lightheadedness
  • Nausea or Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Rapid Heartbeat

To treat move to a cooler, shaded, or air-conditioned area. Drink plenty of water or sports drinks to rehydrate. Remove tight or unnecessary clothing. Apply cool, wet cloths to the skin or take a cool bath. Rest and avoid strenuous activity until fully recovered.

Signs of Heat Stroke:

  • High Body Temperature (Above 103°F or 39.4°C)
  • Altered Mental State or Behavior:
  • Hot, Red, Dry, or Damp Skin
  • Rapid, Strong Pulse
  • Throbbing Headache
  • Nausea or Vomiting
  • Loss of Consciousness

To treat seek medical attention. Move the person to a cooler environment. Use any available means to cool the person down (cool bath, ice packs, wet cloths). Do not give the person anything to drink if they are unconscious or very confused.

The heat coupled with smoke can amplify symptoms, especially with those with underlying health conditions. Dr. Torr encourages people to pay attention for heat and air quality statements from Environment and Climate Change Canada and local media so you can take steps to limit complications from both