While we can’t change that the heat wave is upon us, we can change our habits around how we react to it to stay safe.

“The main message is to stay hydrated, drink plenty of cool fluids, especially water, before you feel thirsty or get dehydrated.”

That’s one of the main tips coming from Dave Young, Director of Health Inspection & Investigation for the Region of Waterloo’s Public Health department.

“Avoid drinks that are high in sugar, caffeine, or alcohol. They really don’t do much to cool you down and re-hydrate you.”

Young also suggests taking cool showers or baths, “until you feel refreshed.”

If you have outdoor activities to do, Young said to plan ahead, “try and do them during the cooler part of the day. After sundown or at sundown.”

“Take a break from the heat,” Young said. “Spend a few hours in a cool place.”

“Never leave your loved ones alone and unattended, especially pets, inside of a parked car.”

If you have elderly neighbours, friends, or family, Young said you should check-up on them on a regular basis.

Some signs that you are falling ill to heat-stroke include feeling light-headed, nausea, dizziness, headache, your breathing and heart-rate may increase, and you may also feel extreme thirst.

Young said if you feel this happening to you, get to a cool place right away. “If help is around, apply cool water to large areas of skin, under your arms, around your neck, on your head. that will cool you down the quickest.”

But the key, Young said, “is to drink plenty of water or cool fluids before you get dehydrated.”

Outdoor workers should take extra caution. “Drink lots of fluid, take breaks if you can, work in the shade if you can.”

“If you have to be out, or your a jogger or a cyclist, avoid the heat of the day, wear sunscreen, and protect yourself.”

Mike.McCulloch@rci.rogers.com