MUSKOKA, ON – With a heatwave on the way, local organizations are advising people on how to keep themselves, and their pets, cool over the weekend.

The Simcoe Muskoka Healthy Unit (SMDHU) said in a release that there is an increased risk of heat exhaustion as temperatures are expected to be at or above 31 C on Friday and Saturday.

The health unit added anyone spending time outside, particularly people working, could experience dehydration or heat stroke.

The SMDHU gave the following tips to avoid heat related health problems:

  • Be sure to drink plenty of fluids (non-caffeinated). Don’t wait until you feel thirsty – that’s a sign that your body is already becoming dehydrated.
  • Stay cool indoors and if possible, seek out an air-conditioned place.
  • If you must be outside, stay in the shade and make sure you wear and reapply sunscreen, a broad-brimmed hat, sunglasses and lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
  • Electric fans provide comfort by increasing evaporation, however when the conditions are extreme, fans will not prevent heat-related illness.
  • Keep physical activity to a minimum.
  • Draw blinds or curtains to prevent radiant heat from entering homes.

 

The health unit said toddlers and young children, the elderly and anyone with chronic lung conditions are more vulnerable to overheating injuries.

“Keep tabs on these people to make sure they’re staying safe,” the SMDHU said in the release.

Anyone who stops sweating in the extreme heat should call 911 immediate because that is a sign the body has given up on trying to cool down.

Anyone looking for more information can visit the health unit’s website.

Our furry friends can’t be forgotten either as they are just as susceptible to the heat, and in some cases more so.

The Ontario SPCA and Humane Society is reminding  pet owners that when the weather gets this hot there are no excuses for leaving animals in cars, even with an open window.

“If you can’t take your pet with you when you leave your car, leave them at home where they are safe,” Jennifer Bluhm, Acting Chief of Animal Protection, Ontario SPCA and Humane Society said.

The organizations said in a release that parked cars can quickly reach deadly temperatures, even on relatively mild days with the car parked in the shade and the windows slightly open.

Another tip is to make sure fresh water and a cool place is available for them if they are outside. The SPCA added that animals should only be outdoors for short periods and not at all during the hottest times.

The organizations urged pet owners to figure out how susceptible their pets are to the heat.

“Certain types of dogs, such as Northern breeds or short-muzzled dogs, can have a more difficult time in the heat,” the release said. “Pets that are older, overweight, taking certain medications or with certain medical conditions, are also more susceptible to heat exposure.”

Anyone who sees an animal suffering in the heat is asked to call 1-833-9ANIMAL (1-833-926-4625).

Anyone looking for more information can visit the health unit’s website.