Elgin County – the Acting Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Franklin Warsh, has issued a HEAT ALERT for Elgin County. Based on the joint smog advisory issued by both Environment Canada and the Ministry Of the Environment, the alert is in effect for today only, May 28, 2012, due to the combination of the forecasted temperatures and the Smog Alerts expecting to result in humidex values of greater than 38° Celsius.

It is of concern that the citizens of Elgin County, especially those living in apartments or homes without air conditioning, need to seek relief from the heat. We need to protect those most at risk such as the elderly, those with suppressed immune systems, babies, and the homeless.

Anyone experiencing adverse side effects because of the heat should call 911 or go to an Emergency Department. In the summer, the combination of high heat and high humidity can be very dangerous.

To avoid heat-related illness, please follow these tips:

Drink lots of water and natural juices even if you don’t feel very thirsty. Remember to drink sips of water and juices over the entire day.
• Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages, coffee and cola.
• Avoid going out in the blazing sun or heat when possible. If you must go outside, stay in the shade as much as possible. Plan any necessary outdoor activities in early morning or evening.
• Wear a wide-brimmed hat outdoors.
• Keep window shades or drapes drawn and blinds closed on the sunny side of your home.
• Keep electric lights off or turned down low.
• Take a cool bath or shower periodically or cool down with cool, wet towels.
• Wear loose fitting, light clothing.
• Avoid eating heavy meals and using your oven.
• Avoid intense or moderately intense physical activity.
• Never leave a child or pet in a parked car or sleeping outside in direct sunlight.
• Fans alone may not provide enough cooling when the temperature is high.
• Consult your doctor or pharmacist regarding the side effects of your medications.
• Reduce use of the car, stop unnecessary vehicle idling; avoid use of oil-based paints and glues, pesticides, and gas-powered small engines.

Get help from a friend, relative or a doctor if you have the following symptoms of heat illness:
• Rapid breathing
• Weakness or fainting
• More tiredness than usual
• Headache
• Confusion

Friends and relatives can help someone with heat illness by doing the following:
• Call for help
• Remove excess clothing from the person
• Cool the person with lukewarm water, by sponging or bathing
• Move the person to a cooler location
• Give the person sips of cool water, not ice cold water

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