There’s nothing better than warm weather, sunshine and blue skies in summer. But we often forget the risks associated with hot, sunny days. The McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) has reported that when the outdoor temperature rises to just 20°C, it can get hot enough in your car to kill a child in just 10 minutes!
According to Passeport santé, a public health information provider, vehicles are one of the most likely places to get heat stroke. What are the symptoms? Heat stroke occurs when the body is no longer able to effectively regulate its temperature and keep it at 37°C. A person may experience cramps, redness in the face and intense thirst. They may stop sweating, get a headache and present hot, dry skin. Subsequently, sufferers may experience nausea, vomiting, muscle pain, dizziness or even faint. If a person’s temperature exceeds 40.5°C, they risk death. Heat stroke is not something to be taken lightly, as it can be very serious. If left untreated, it can cause neurological, kidney or heart damage, in addition to comas or death.
When children are forgotten Every summer, we hear of children who die or suffer serious injuries after being forgotten in a vehicle. The MUHC confirms that children absorb more heat than adults, leaving them more at risk of heat stroke if they are left in a car, even for just a few minutes.
To make sure you won’t make the same mistake, keep a large stuffed animal in your child’s car seat. When it comes time to put your infant or toddler in their seat, move the toy to the front passenger seat so that it can act as a visual reminder. This simple tip could make all the difference!
Adults are also at risk Adults and seniors should also be wary of risky situations. Older adults are less likely to notice thirst or dry skin. Meanwhile, grown-ups of all ages can faint when doing physical activity if they are not properly hydrated or if they are wearing clothing that doesn’t breathe. Similarly, you’re at risk if you work outdoors and forget to drink fluids and take breaks in the shade, or if you’re stuck in traffic without air conditioning and a bottle of water.
What solutions are there? Whether you work outside or inside, heat stroke can affect anyone. On very hot days, wear light-colored clothing, stay in the shade, wear a hat, wet your neck frequently and keep well hydrated.