Elgin County – Acting Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Franklin Warsh, has issued a seventh HEAT ALERT in 2012 for Elgin County. Based on the Environment Canada forecast, the combination of increased humidity and higher temperatures will push the humidex levels into the low 40’s on Saturday August 4, 2012.
A Smog Advisory has also been issued for this afternoon by the Ontario Ministry of Environment due to poor air quality in the region. The Alert will be in effect for Saturday August 4, 2012.
Temperatures are expected to cool off on Sunday when cooler air moves in to flush out the hot and humid air. In the summer, the combination of high heat and high humidity and poor air quality can be very dangerous. This period of high humidex readings is of concern for the citizens of Elgin County, especially those living in apartments or homes without air conditioning. Others who are most at risk include the elderly; individuals with suppressed immune systems, cardiovascular and respiratory conditions, and the homeless.
Anyone experiencing adverse side effects because of the heat or poor air quality should seek medical attention from a healthcare professional, call 911 or go to an Emergency Department.
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-related 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
Check with your local municipality for information about local cooling stations and other services during these extreme temperature conditions.