With heat warnings in place across much of Ontario and Canada, many are looking for relief by flocking to beaches and swimming pools, or are hunkering down indoors, but medical experts say those choices are more difficult amidst a novel coronavirus pandemic.
“When you have these extreme temperatures, that in itself can cause harm and you know people can die from extreme heat,” says Dr. Anna Banerji, a paediatric infectious and tropical disease specialist based in Toronto, Ont.
“There’s the real risk of heat exposure, heat exhaustion, heatstroke, versus the theoretical risk of COVID.”
People are cooling down at beaches, splash pads and indoors as temperatures sore and heat warnings are issued, but health experts are warning against gathering indoors, whether it be in a home or cooling or shopping centre.
“It’s an extremely infectious virus, probably one of the most infectious viruses or agents we’ve had in, you know, at least 100 years, for sure, so it’s difficult to contain, however heat can kill you,” adds Banerji.
Experts suggest that if you do go out to wear a mask indoors and respect physical distancing by keeping at least six feet from one another.
“If you decide to go to the beach, keep your distance, if you decide to go to a cooling centre, wear a mask and again go where it’s not crowded, but at the end of the day, there is nothing that is … no-risk, and I think the best thing we can all do is that if you’re not feeling well, you stay home,” says Dr. Mathew Mercuri, a professor and epidemiologist at the University of Toronto.
Experts also suggest to avoid strenuous activities, wear light clothing and drink plenty of liquids to stay safe during a heat warning.
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