It has been hot in Eeyou Istchee. I don’t know if anyone has tried frying eggs on the sidewalk of the band council steps lately, but at one point Whapmagoustui and the surrounding area was the hottest place in North America.
Given how far north Crees and Inuit live, none are much acclimatized to periods of high heat. I remember one summer not long ago when we lost a few Inuit Elders to the heat.
Scientist say the weather patterns allowing this excessive change usually run in 20-to-40-year cycles depending on where you live in the world. However, you can expect them to start coming in much shorter periods now.
Yes, George W. Bush, despite the opinion of criminally negligent politicians such as you, global warming is a reality. And for those of us who live in the north, it’s becoming a deadly threat.
The threat for our northern populations is heat-related health problems. These problems usually affect the obese, those who are not used to the heat, pregnant women, young children, especially those under four years old, the elderly and those who do not get enough sleep. People taking medication should check with the local clinics on whether or not they will be affected more by the heat.
Too much exposure to heat and dehydration can result in heat exhaustion. You really don’t want this as symptoms can include heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, dizziness headache and nausea or vomiting.
An early warning sign I tell all my friends when dealing with dehydration is you feel the beginnings of a headache. A sure sign is when your urine becomes darker and smells a lot. You won’t find this early warning sign in most pamphlets. The solution is easy, all you have to do is drink water. Lots of it, as much as you can take first followed by a cup or so every hour except while sleeping.
Do not drink pop thinking it will help. It doesn’t as the caffeine in most drinks will assist in dehydrating you instead.
Not dealing with dehydration and heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke. When you have one of these you can damage the brain and other organs, and it might even kill you.
Heat stroke symptoms can vary, but you want to watch out for red, hot and dry skin; rapid, strong pulse; throbbing headache, dizziness, nausea, confusion and unconsciousness.
If you think someone might be suffering from heat stroke, call an ambulance. Cool them down any way you can until help arrives. Get them to the shade or an air-conditioned area. Spray or sponge them with cold water, or immerse them in a tub of cold water if possible. If it’s not too humid, you can wrap the victim in a wet sheet and fan him or her vigorously. You want to get the victim’s body temperature down to 101-102 degrees.
To avoid heat-related illness: drink plenty of nonalcoholic fluids (alcohol dehydrates you), pace yourself when working outdoors, replace salts and minerals, wear lightweight clothing, seek air conditioning or fans, and take cold showers.
My favorite trick is one from the 1930s – a fan with a bowl of ice in front of it. It is the poor man’s air conditioner.
If you are working outdoors drink plenty of water, a glass every 20 minutes. You can easily lose two to three gallons working on a hot day.
Go down to the lake, river or bay. It is usually a few degrees cooler there, especially in the shade. Take an Elder as they are most at risk.
Take a cold shower or bath. This will cool the body off nicely.
I put my hands in the freezer and then rub them on my neck and chest. It’s really, really nice.
If you have one of those big freezers you could try putting your clothes in them overnight and then putting them on in the morning. I have a buddy who swears by this.
Another trick is to go somewhere where there is air conditioning and just hang out. Isn’t it time you checked out the band office?
Anyhow, when it gets really, really hot, just find a way to stay cool.