Environment And Climate Change Canada (ECCC) issued a Heat Warning for Portage la Prairie Wednesday afternoon.

The warning was triggered as Humidex values are expected to reach 40° on Thursday and Friday. ECCC calls for daytime highs at or above 32 degrees Celsius, while overnight lows above 16 degrees Celsius are also expected.

An upper-level ridge is moving over southern Manitoba, according to ECCC, bringing extreme daytime temperatures and humidex with little overnight relief.

A slight reprieve is likely beginning late Friday into the weekend as the warmest air shifts southward, though temperatures will remain well above seasonal into early next week.

You are encouraged to watch for the effects of heat illness, including swelling, rash, cramps, fainting, heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and worsening of some health conditions.

During this heat wave, it is suggested that you drink plenty of water regularly, even before you feel thirsty, to decrease your risk of dehydration. Thirst is not a good indicator of dehydration.

If you are overheated, you should seek a cool place such as a tree-shaded area, splash pad, misting station, or air-conditioned spot like a public building. 

You are urged to limit direct sun exposure and to shade yourself by wearing a wide-brimmed, breathable hat and an umbrella.

Environment Canada says in weather like this, you should never leave people inside a parked vehicle, particularly children or pets.

Early signs of heat illness should be watched, which include feeling unwell, fatigue, thirst, and headache as these can rapidly evolve into life-threatening emergencies. Move to a cooler environment immediately, such as a shaded or air-conditioned space.

You are encouraged to keep your house cool by turning on your air conditioning, closing curtains or blinds, or relocating to a cooler location such as a basement or public cooling centre.

Workers should take regularly scheduled breaks in a cool or shaded space. 

Other tips for reducing the health effects of heat include: 

  • Taking a cool shower or bath or taking a break in a cool location, such as an air-conditioned building or a tree-shaded area, 
  • Staying out of direct sunlight and wearing loose-fitting, light-coloured clothing and a wide-brimmed hat or shading yourself with an umbrella, 
  • Drinking plenty of water before you feel thirsty and staying in a cool place, and if you must go out, taking water with you, 
  • Checking on family, friends, and neighbours and regularly checking on people living alone, especially older individuals or people with health conditions, and making sure they are cool and drinking water, 
  • Watching for signs of heat stroke (which may begin with headache, hot skin, dizziness, or confusion) and taking action immediately. 

For more information on heat and your health: - Visit Manitoba Health at: manitoba.ca/health/publichealth/environmentalhealth/heat.html. - Call Health Links – Info Santé at 204-788-8200 or toll-free at 1-888-315-9257. For more information specific to workplaces and heat strain, visit safemanitoba.com/News/Pages/Heat-Strain-at-Work-with-Dr.-Denise.aspx.