High Humidity And Late Summer Heat Combine For Region’S Second Heat Alert

Photo by eriwst

September 4, 2014

London, ON – With an Environment Canada forecast calling for a daytime high of 32º Celsius and humidex values expected to reach 41, the Middlesex-London Health Unit is issuing the summer’s second Extreme Heat Alert. The Extreme Heat Alert will be in effect for tomorrow, Friday, September 5th, only as Saturday’s high is only expected to reach 21º Celsius.

“The summer of 2014 has been largely free from the kind of hot, hazy and humid weather we usually see in the Middlesex-London area, so it’s important to remind people of the steps to take to stay healthy when the temperatures climb,” says Iqbal Kalsi, Manager of Environmental Health at the Middlesex-London Health Unit. “To reduce the potential health risks associated with extreme heat, plan outdoor activities wisely and avoid strenuous activity. It’s also wise to seek shade, drink plenty of water, and wear light clothes and a wide-brimmed hat.

Extreme Heat Alerts are issued by the Health Unit due to the health risks associated with high temperatures and humidity. Residents who find they are experiencing symptoms associated with extreme temperature conditions should seek medical attention immediately, either by calling 911 or by going to the nearest Emergency Department.

Follow these tips to avoid heat-related illness:

  • Drink plenty of water and natural juices throughout the day, even if you don’t feel very thirsty. Remember to take sips often and not to guzzle your drink.
  • 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
  • Use fans to draw cool air at night, but do not rely on a fan as a primary cooling device during extended periods of excessive heat.
  • Consult your doctor or pharmacist regarding the side effects of your medications
  • Reduce the use of personal vehicles, stop unnecessary idling; avoid using oil-based paints and glues, pesticides and gas-powered small engines.

Seek help if you experience any of 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
  • Move the person to a cooler location
  • Remove excess clothing from the person
  • Cool the person with lukewarm water, by sponging or bathing
  • Give the person sips of cool water if they are not nauseated or vomiting. Do not give ice cold water.

As an owner or operator of residential buildings, a landlord can take the following actions to decrease the risk of heat-related illness to your residents:

  • Provide residents access to a cooler spot for several hours at a time, e.g. a common room with air conditioning or a basement area.
  • Keep windows in hallways slightly open to allow air to circulate.
  • Use fans to draw cool air at night, but do not rely on a fan as a primary cooling device during extended periods of excessive heat.
  • Provide heat safety information to residents or post the information in common areas e.g. by the elevator, in the lobby.
  • Have building staff check on at-risk residents every few hours.
  • Advise residents to drink lots of water and natural fruit juices even if they don’t feel thirsty.
  • Ask residents to keep windows open and the drapes drawn.
  • Keep lights off. Do not use stove or oven.
  • Suggest residents cool down with cool baths, showers, foot baths or by placing cool, wet towels on their necks or underarms.
  • Suggest tenants avoid midday sun or heat and go outside in the morning or evening when it is cooler.

For complete information on heat-related illness, or the effects of smog and humidity please contact the Middlesex-London Health Unit at 519-663-5317 or visit www.healthunit.com/extreme-temperatures.

For the addresses of local libraries, please call 519-661-4600.

Call Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000 for free advice from a Health Professional, 24/7.

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