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    (NC) Many places in Canada have a high number of extreme heat events, often called "heat waves." With many provinces setting heat records this summer, it’s important to learn how to take steps to protect yourself and your family.

    Extreme heat can put your health at risk, causing illnesses like heat stroke and even death. While extreme heat can affect everyone, health risks are greatest for older adults, infants and young children, people with chronic illnesses, low-income earners and people who work or exercise in the heat.

    Fortunately, heat illnesses are preventable. You can prepare for the heat by regularly tuning in to local weather forecasts and alerts so you know when to take extra care.

    During extreme heat, the most important thing to do is to keep cool and hydrated. It’s essential to drink plenty of cool liquids before you feel thirsty to decrease your risk of dehydration. That’s because thirst is not a good indicator of dehydration.

    You can keep your body cool by dressing for the weather and taking plenty of breaks from the heat. Wear loose-fitting, light-coloured clothing and a wide-brimmed hat made of breathable fabric. If you must do physical activity, take extra breaks, remove gear such as helmets or equipment to let your body cool off, and drink lots of water. Don't expect your usual performance in hot weather and give your body time to recover afterwards.

    When you’re outside, watch for symptoms of heat illness, which include dizziness, nausea, headache and extreme thirst. If you have any of these symptoms during extreme heat, move to a cool place and drink liquids right away. Water is best.

    Call 911 or your local emergency number immediately if you are caring for someone who has a high body temperature and is either unconscious, confused or has stopped sweating. While waiting for help, cool the person right away by moving them to a cool place, applying cold water to large areas of their skin or clothing and fanning the person as much as possible.

    Find more information at Canada.ca/health.

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