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SHA issues advisory about air quality, rising temperatures due to Saskatchewan wildfires

The Saskatchewan Health Authority is issuing an advisory of poor air quality and rising temperatures stemming from the Saskatchewan wildfires.

The SHA says areas across the province are being impacted, and smoke concentrations can vary widely as winds, fire behaviour and temperatures change.

Children, seniors, and those with heart or lung diseases are potentially at risk of illnesses like heat rash, heat cramps, heat oedema swelling, heat fainting, heat exhaustion and heatstroke.

To avoid getting sick due to smoke, it’s recommended that people, especially those at risk, remain indoors during times that there is smoke in the air. They should also keep doors and windows closed, using a fan or air conditioner to cool down when possible.

If the concern is due to the heat, people should keep out of the sun between peak hours of 11 to 3. If someone needs to be outdoors, they should wear proper sunscreen, hats and sunglasses, along with loose-fitting light clothing. They should also avoid physical exercise and spend lots of time in the shade whenever possible.

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If people don’t have AC or a fan, the SHA says to know where to get out of the smoke and heat. These public spaces can be leisure centres, malls and libraries, for example.

Other ways to say cool could be staying hydrated with cold water and cold drinks, avoiding excess alcohol. Eating cold foods like salad and fruit with high water content can also help, the SHA notes, as can cool baths or showers.

Finally,  the SHA asks that people look out for others. This means watching out for isolated, elderly, ill or very young people or pets, ensuring that they have minimal exposure to smoke, are not left alone in stationary vehicles, or unsupervised when near open water. Residents can also check on elderly or sick neighbours, family or friends daily in order to help.

If someone is experiencing a heat or smoke-induced medical emergency, call 9-1-1 or seek immediate medical assistance, especially if the person has a high body temperature and is either unconscious, confused or has stopped sweating.

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