Parkland Ambulance reminds people to be careful during hot week ahead

Jayda Taylor/Daily Herald Prince Albert residents enjoy a dip in the Kinsmen Water Park pool on Friday, June 2, 2023.

The next seven days promises hot weather, and when combined with the humidity from all that rain, even higher temperatures. The forecast calls for temperatures to hit above 25 C during the middle of the week.

This comes after a weekend where temperatures reached above 30 C.

Lyle Karasiuk, Director of Public Affairs for Parkland Ambulance, said people must be prepared if they’re going to stay cool. That includes finding shade, wearing a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen, and filling up a water bottle for on the go. “We had a hot weekend and we’ve got a hot week ahead of us,” Karasiuk said. “We want to remind folks the simplest instructions to give: try to find some way to be cool (and) stay in the shade.”

Karasiuk said that you should be mindful of when outside. If you start to feel lightheaded, find some shade or get to a cool place. For homes without central air conditioning, that might involve getting creative. Residents can also lower the air temperature by about five degrees by using a fan.

“Try to do things like take cool showers and baths and do your very best to stay cool, which means also closing the blinds and windows at the hottest point of the day, which is usually from mid-morning to mid-afternoon and then opening them up in the evening to get some good airflow,” Karsiuk said. R

esidents who live in apartments without air conditioning should go to the common area, Karasiuk said. Other ways to beat the heat are visiting the public library or go window shopping at a store with air conditioning. If you are working outside at a construction site he also advises to get shade, drink lots of water, and eat smaller meals or snacks throughout the day.

One important aspect is to watch hydration, which means drinking plenty of water. “When you think you’re thirsty, you are already low on fluid,” Karasiuk explained. “I use this analogy when I talk to folks: If I didn’t put any antifreeze in my car but waited until the light came on the dash, it’s probably too late. I’m really low on antifreeze in my vehicle. Same thing in your body.”

Karasiuk reminds people to avoid coffee or tea because they contain caffeine. He also says to avoid anything with added sugars like Slurpees. “Good old-fashioned water is going to be the best, and you’ll need lots of it,” he said. “You should be drinking lots of it. I’ll admit I don’t do enough myself and that will help keep us cool.”

As well stay away from alcoholic beverages as much as possible as they act as a dehydrator.

“As much as I’d love to go sit on a patio and have a cool one with someone, it’s not going to do anything to keep my fluid levels up,’” Karasiuk said. Karasiuk also reminds people to be careful and mindful of having children in the heat. “They can’t often tell you when it’s too hot … and on the other extreme are seniors’ population. As their body ages, we have the sad reality that we don’t keep ourselves regulated. Often we find that we’re too hot or too cold,”

Medications also plays with people’s fluid system, Karasiuk said. If you have concerns around medications talk to your doctor and pharmacist. If you have any questions about what is happening to you Karasiuk said you should call the 811 Health Helpline. “If you’re not sure what to do, then the Health Information Helpline at 811 is a great place to start for advice 24 hours a day available in many languages and they’re always there to help,” he explained. Karasiuk used an example from his own life to explain signs to watch for. On Saturday afternoon, he was in the yard and started to feel lightheaded and then went inside for a drink and something to eat to cool down. “That’s the first sign, light-headedness, cramping in our arms, in our legs feeling a little bit unwell,” Karasiuk said. “Maybe if you’re out working in the yard and you get up and you feel dizzy. Or I’m trying to walk, and I have to sort of balance myself by grabbing something.”

He advised residents to find shade in a cool inside rather than taking shelter outside in the shade. “If we don’t address those immediate concerns with good food, good water, rest and shade we’re going to get nauseated we’re going to start to vomit. We’re going to get more lightheaded, dizzy, confused,” Karasiuk said.

If the condition doesn’t resolve itself in the next half hour Karasiuk said to seek medical attention and don’t wait until the next morning. Karaisuk also said that electrolyte replacement through things like Pedialyte is great for both adults and children. He also advised that if you find someone in medical distress outside take immediate action.

“Please dial 911 or the appropriate emergency number and get paramedics or appropriate help coming for them and get them as cool as safely and as quickly as possible,” Karasiuk also advises to look out for others and watch out for isolated, elderly, ill or very young people and ensure they can keep cool, ensure that babies, children, older adults, adults, and pets are not left alone in stationary vehicles or unsupervised when near open water and check on elderly or sick neighbours, family or friends daily during the hot week.