Our Creative Director Linda Laforge Tells You!
The Weather Network states our average high temperature for June was 23.5C, and so far for July its 26.4C. According to Global News, since the beginning of July, a “persistent heat wave gripped parts of the Northern Hemisphere and smashed weather records in Canada, United States, Europe and the Middle East.”
We’ve had several days that reached over 30C, and combined with the humidex, it felt like the mid 40’s.
As an artist who does outdoor festivals, staying indoors during Canada Day weekend wasn’t an option. Outside of the usual – wearing sunscreen and dressing for the weather, what can be done to avoid health issues like heat rash, heat exhaustion or even stroke?
These are a few tricks I learned while working that 40C plus weekend outside.
1. Water, Water and More Water
Our bodies lose a lot of water sweating in high temperatures. Make sure you have more water on hand than you would normally drink. You’ll need it. I was amazed at how much water I drank and how little I urinated while in that heat.
Dehydration can cause fatigue, headaches and nausea and can have more serious health consequences for the very young and elderly. RedCross.ca states that one symptom of heat-related illness is decreased urination with unusually dark yellow urine.
According to Heart.org, facial flushing occurs when blood vessels in the face dilate and can occur in response to certain triggers such as sun and heat exposure. Friends warned that my face was burnt. It was not.
2. Freeze Bottled Water
There are a lot of hard working people who who do hard physical labour surrounded by hot equipment and in environments that create even more heat. I talked with a window washer who has cleaned the outside of the CN Tower. He suggested freezing the water bottles I intended to drink. Since I usually only bring a refillable tin, I took his advice and purchased and froze water overnight.
Another tip, if didn’t wear those bottles under my t-shirt to keep my body temperature down I don’t think I would have lasted two days, much less one. The ice melted quickly enough that I had actual cold water to drink. Great since the local convenience stores sold out of water quickly.
3. Fans and Water Spray
The dollar store sold spray bottles with fans on them. Even when the water got warm, misting my face and neck, then fanning myself felt great. This was another great way to keep cool.
4. Stay in the Shade
I follow the shade in my tent at all fests, as it’s not fun making people squint into the sun for the caricatures I draw. This is good advice on any sunny day, as you can get a pretty good tan even in the shade while avoiding that direct hot sun!
5. Find a Cool Place to Rest
When all else fails, shut down your booth and find a cool, preferably air conditioned place to rest. At worse, pack up and go home.
On day two of this fest, I was the only vendor tent for a large section of the show. Many were sensible business owners who went home. I felt I was obligated to be in my tent and watched an empty street that is usually packed full of happy people enjoying their weekend off. It was simply far too hot for people to come to an outdoor fest.
In future, know that your health is more important than a promise on paper. As my husband, a home renovator put it, “I would have sent my guys home. I won’t let them work in unsafe conditions. Show organizers shouldn’t want you to either.”
On day three of the fest, I wasn’t thinking clearly, felt exhausted and was too nauseated to work. Next time I’ll pack up during impossible temperatures and return later in the day when it’s cooled down. As some of you experienced some shows and events were cancelled or shortened in order to protect against the extreme heat conditions.
Stay safe and enjoy your summer. I’ll see you out there, sun and rain. But not 40C plus!
By Linda Laforge, Portrait and Caricature Artist and author of “Anyone Can Draw in Ten Sessions” – find it here on Amazon | See her art and event schedule here!