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Editorial: Take this heat seriously, Squamish

And it should not need to be said, but please do not leave your pup in the car on a summer day — ever.
FG Tradeheat seniors
Heat has a big impact on those over 70. Check on your friends, relatives and neighbours who live alone.

This heat is no joke.

While the forecast is for things to cool down this weekend, this week is likely not the last Environment Canada heat warning we will see this summer.

While many of us grew up never thinking twice about how hot it was in the summer, we are seeing unprecedented heat in our region due to climate change.

Believe it or not, in Canada, extreme heat events are the leading weather-related cause of death, according to the BC Coroners Service.

But here on the coast, unlike other areas of the world where heat is expected and taken into account in the culture and construction of buildings, we are not so accustomed. (Not many built-in air conditioners in Squamish homes nor noon retreats for siestas during the hottest part of the day.)

The BC Centre for Disease Control says that sustained indoor temperatures over 26 C can pose a health risk for people susceptible to heat, and sustained temperatures over 31 C can be dangerous.

A new health check guide developed by the National Collaborating Centre for Environmental Health (NCCEH), and the University of Ottawa helps to identify people most at risk during an extreme heat wave, and it provides guidance on how to keep cool.

It was released on Tuesday.

It sounds basic, but check it out. We could all stand to learn more about how heat impacts us and what to do about it.

The guide notes that folks over 60, people on certain medications and those who have certain mental health conditions — like schizophrenia or anxiety — can be more susceptible to heat.

Did you know that nausea is actually a moderate, not mild, heat-related illness symptom?

That is what the guide says.

Feeling unwell due to heat can quickly turn into a serious health crisis.

A lot has been learned about the impact of heat because of the heat dome we experienced last summer, which took the lives of 619 British Columbians.

During the B.C. heat wave from June 25 to July 1, 98% of deaths happened indoors; 56% of those who died lived alone, and 67% were 70 years old or older.

This is a shameful way for our seniors to go.

Check on your neighbours and friends. Let them know there are local cooling centres, such as the library, Totem Hall and at Brennan Park that could literally save their lives.

And it should not need to be said, but please do not leave your pup in the car on a summer day — ever.

The heat dome also saw an increase in the death of pets due to the heat, vets have reported.

We will all make it through the summer unscathed with a little preparation and consideration.

Stay cool.