Medical personnel are asking residents to stay cool this weekend as Canadians across the country deal with an early summer heat wave.
Temperatures in Prince Albert soared to as high as 29.3 C on Friday, with the worst still to come. Environment Canada is predicting highs of 31 C on Monday and 32 C on Tuesday.
Prince Albert Parkland Ambulance Care Ltd. paramedic Lyle Karasiuk said it’s vital for residents to stay cool and drink lots of water, especially with so many outdoor events scheduled for the next few days.
“Really, what we want people to do is stay hydrated. That’s probably the biggest single thing and that means good old fashioned water,” Karasiuk explained. “I know a good old fashioned beer on a hot summer day tastes fantastic, but it does nothing to keep you hydrated, and that’s the biggest thing.”
As the weather gets warmer, Karasiuk said it’s common to see people get dizzy or light-headed from the heat. Dehydration is the problem, most of the time, but occasionally other factors like lack of air conditioning or proper shelter are to blame.
During hot afternoons, Karasiuk wants residents to take whatever precautions are necessary, even if it means leaving a house, apartment or car behind.
“Find somewhere cool. Maybe that’s visiting a public library or going window shopping in one of the local malls,” he said.
“In our larger seniors complexes, which are brick buildings, brick absorbs the heat. Maybe you don’t have air conditioning in your apartment, but maybe the hallway or the common area does. Grab a book and head down to the common area if you live in those facilities.”
Saskatchewan saw some of the warmest temperatures in Canada on Friday, with Saskatoon reaching a high of 32 C, but conditions have been even worse in Quebec.
At least 50 people have been reported dead in the province due to the heat wave, which saw temperatures climb up to 34.4 C in Montreal on Thursday.
The majority of the victims in those cases were seniors with pre-existing medical conditions who also lacked mobility, and Karasiuk advised residents to keep tabs on their neighbours to make sure something similar doesn’t happen here.
“Drop in and say, ‘hi, how’s it going,’” he said. “That will go a long way to checking on people to make sure that they are eating, they are drinking, and they are at least trying to stay as cool as they possibly can.”
Karasiuk added that anytime residents start to feel light-headed, dizzy or nauseous, they need head for shade or take a cold shower. If they feel this way for the better part of the day, he advised residents to seek medical treatment, especially for children or seniors. He said that’s going to be especially important as spectators head out to the World Junior Fastball Championships, set to kick off on July 6.
“We got lots of great athletes from all over the world here starting (on Saturday) to play ball, and the message of the day for those guys by their coaching and their training staff will be to drink water,” he said. “Lots of water.”