The First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) is advising people to take extra precautions during the prolonged heat wave across our province beginning Friday, June 25 and expected to last until Tuesday, June 29.
The FNHA's Office of the Chief Medical Officer is advising that prolonged exposure to excessive heat can result in severe illness and death. Excessive heat exposure can lead to weakness, disorientation and exhaustion. In severe cases, it can also lead to heat stroke, also known as sunstroke. Heat stroke can be a life-threatening medical emergency. Fortunately, it can almost always be prevented.
The best way for everyone to prevent adverse health effects associated with hot weather is to stay in or seek cooler spaces in order to ensure that municipalities and health authorities are prepared for the public health risks posed by extreme heat.
Who is most at risk?
Anyone can suffer from heat-related illness, but some people are at greater risk. Please take extra care to check on family members, neighbours and others in the community:
Some medical conditions may also increase risk such as uncontrolled diabetes or blood pressure, overweight, kidney failure, heart failure, or on medications such as water pills and certain psychiatric medications. What are the symptoms?The symptoms of heat-related illness can range from mild to severe. They include:
High fever, hallucinations, seizures and unconsciousness can be life threatening and require urgent medical attention. Call 911, move to a cool place, and cool the person with water and fanning. How to prevent heat-related illness
Cooling centres Many First Nations and other communities are setting up cooling centres which you are encouraged to use if available and you cannot stay cool enough at home. It is important to note that prolonged exposure to hot weather is a bigger health risk than the current COVID-19 exposure risk over the next week. Using masks and two meters distance with people who are not part of your household is recommended if you are in cooling centres. However, it is fine to remove your mask and catch your breath if you are having difficulty breathing in a mask. No one should be denied entry to a cooling centre for not wearing a mask.
Heat-related Illness - Health Link BC: https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/healthlinkbc-files/heat-related-illness
Fact Sheet: Staying Healthy in the Heat - Government of Canada: https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/publications/healthy-living/fact-sheet-staying-healthy-heat.html
BC CDC Guidance for Community Cooling Centres During B.C.’s Restart Plan: http://www.bccdc.ca/Health-Info-Site/Documents/Guidance-for-Cooling-Centres-COVID-19.pdf
Environment and Climate Change Canada Forecasts: www.weather.gc.ca/forecast/canada/index_e.html?id=BC
Environment and Climate Change Canada Special Weather Statements/Warnings: www.weather.gc.ca/warnings/index_e.html?prov=bc