With high temperatures and high humidity gripping much of Manitoba on Wednesday, officials were advising people to take precautions to guard against heat-related illnesses.

All city-run libraries and leisure centres are air conditioned and the city has now designated them as cooling centres in the midst of the heat wave.

Health experts said the high humidity, in particular, poses concerns.

"One of the things the body does to reduce heat is sweat, but if it's humid, your ability to release heat by sweating is diminished," said Dr. Susan Roberecki from Manitoba Health.

Health officials said in this kind of humidity, it's very important to check on children and the elderly.

Doctors said signs of heat stroke or heat exhaustion can include having a headache, feeling unwell, dizzy, faint, having a racing heart or shortness of breath.

The province previously issued a heat advisory on July 18 for parts of Manitoba, saying Dauphin, Berens River and southern areas of Manitoba are slated to reach high humidex values over the next few days.

Officials offered up a range of tips for guarding against the heat, including:

  • drinking plenty of liquids, preferably water, before feeling thirsty;
  • limiting physical activities on very hot days;
  • wearing a wide-brimmed hat or using an umbrella;
  • wearing loose-fitting, light-coloured clothing;
  • using sunscreen if you are outdoors;
  • going to a cool place such as a mall, restaurant or movie theatre for a break from the heat if there is no air conditioning at home;
  • taking a cool bath or shower; and
  • limiting alcohol consumption. (source: Province of Manitoba)

More information on heat and health is available by calling Health Links-Info Santé at 204-788-8200 or 1-888-315-9257 (toll-free) or by going to the province’s website.

-- with a report from CTV's Jillian Taylor