Manitoba's recent heatwave turned deadly over the weekend.
Two heat-related deaths were confirmed by the Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living office on Tuesday.
“Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living is aware of two deaths over the weekend related to hyperthermia — an abnormally high body temperature caused by a failure of the heat-regulating systems of the body to deal with the heat load from a combination of metabolic heat, environmental factors, and clothing requirements,” a spokesperson for government said. “We are working with the chief medical examiner to confirm a cause of death, as well as a potential association with drug use.”
The ages or where the victims were from has not been released.
The heatwave has brought temperatures around the 30 C mark with the Humidex making it feel closer to 40 C. Environment Canada issues a heat warning on Monday, which happens in Southern Manitoba when temperatures hit a high of 32 C and a low of 16 C for two consecutive days, or with a humidex of 38 C.
“Manitobans are reminded to be diligent during extreme heat,” the province said. “Be aware of the temperature and be prepared, stay hydrated, stay cool and keep out of the sun. It is also important to check in on those who are vulnerable such as the older adults. Some medications can also increase your risk of heat-related illness, so it’s important to ask your doctor or pharmacist whether the medication you’re taking affects your ability to cope with heat.”
Plan to help those experiencing homelessness launched
A response plan to help aid those experiencing homelessness has been launched by End Homelessness Winnipeg through its End Homelessness Winnipeg’s Extreme Weather Response Steering Committee.
Called the Extreme Heat Response Plan, it’s a resource to keep Winnipeg’s homeless safe during extreme hot weather, according to the advocate.
Its main objectives are to alert those most vulnerable to extreme hot weather conditions that are either expected or currently existing; enable those most vulnerable to take appropriate precautions; and trigger responder actions by agencies that provide services or alter operations in such a way to protect vulnerable people.
“People experiencing homelessness are particularly vulnerable to direct health impacts of extreme hot weather,” the plan states. “People experiencing homelessness are at high-risk for heat illness because they are likely to spend long periods of time outside, resulting in increased exposure.
“Many chronic problems faced by people experiencing homelessness, including inadequate clothing, shelter from the sun, or malnutrition, can increase the risk of extreme hot-weather injuries. Some medical conditions, such as heart conditions or breathing problems can be made worse in too much heat. Chronic heat exhaustion, sleep disturbances and susceptibility to minor injuries and sicknesses have all been attributed to the possible effects of prolonged exposure to heat.”
How to stay prepared
The province has several recommendations to follow during periods of extreme heat:
• Know daytime and night-time temperatures-both outdoors and indoors- by checking your local weather forecasts and the thermostat in your home.
• Stay up to date on weather alerts so you know when to take extra-care.
• If you have an air-conditioner, make sure it’s working properly before the hot weather starts
• Drink plenty of water (that’s the best liquid) before you feel thirsty.
• Avoid alcoholic beverages, as they can increase the amount of water lost by the body.
• Plan outdoor activities for cooler parts of the day, but remember to wear insect repellant since mosquitoes are out too.
• If you are outdoors during the hottest part of the day, shade yourself from the sun with an umbrella or a wide-brimmed hat with lots of ventilation (to allow the sweat on your head to evaporate), wear loose-fitting, breathable, light-coloured clothing, and remember to wear sunscreen to limit ultra-violet (UV) ray exposure.
• If there is no air-conditioning at home- go to a cool place such as an air-conditioned mall, public library, or community centre.
• Take a cool bath or shower or go for a swim to cool off.
• Avoid using your oven or other appliances that could heat your home more.
• Limit physical activities during the hotter parts of the day or exercise in an air-conditioned place.
• Check on family members, neighbours and friends – especially older adults and those with chronic conditions. Visiting is best because it is easier to identify signs of heat illness that could be missed over the phone.
• Never leave people or pets in your care alone in closed vehicles or direct sunlight.
More can be found at www.gov.mb.ca/health/publichealth/environmentalhealth/heat.html
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