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Extreme Heat Health Alert issued

June 24, 2013 -

Posted on behalf of KFL&A

Kingston, Frontenac & Lennox and Addington Counties

A Level 1 – Extreme Heat Health ALERT has been issued by KFL&A Public Health to advise area health professionals and community service providers of an upcoming period of hot and humid weather which may have adverse health effects.  According to Environment Canada, the humidex is expected to reach 36 or higher today June 24, 2013 and tomorrow June 25, 2013. This alert is in effect for all areas within Kingston, Frontenac & Lennox and Addington Counties.

A Level 1 – Extreme Heat Health Alert is issued when Environment Canada forecasts 36°C temperature or humidex (and above) for two consecutive days, without an air quality advisory.

Humidex values describe how the  hot and humid weather  feels to the average person. It combines the temperature and humidity readings into one number to reflect the perceived temperature.  The higher the humidex, the harder it is for perspiration to evaporate and cool the body.

Heat illnesses are preventable, but they can lead to long-term health problems and even death.  While Extreme Heat can put everyone at risk from heat illnesses, health risks are greatest for:

  • Older adults
  • Infants and young children
  • People with chronic illnesses such as breathing difficulties, heart conditions or mental health illnesses
  • People who take certain mediations (urge them to check with their pharmacist or physician)
  • People who work or who exercise in the heat
  • Homeless people and low income earners

Know the Signs of Heat Related Illness and Know What To Do!

  • Heat related illness: Muscle cramps, dizziness, fainting, nausea and vomiting, headache, rapid heart rate and breathing
    • Move to a cool place, rest, drink water, use cool compresses and fan the body. Seek medical attention if symptoms persist.
  • Heat Stroke: Complete or partial loss of consciousness, confusion, elevated temperature, hot dry skin
    • CALL 9-1-1, this is a medical emergency. While waiting for help, move the person to a cool area, apply cool water to large areas of their body, fan the person as much as possible.

KFL&A Public Health recommends taking the following actions to stay cool:

  • Drink plenty of cool liquids, especially water, before feeling thirsty.
  • Avoid sun exposure.  Shade yourself by sitting under a tree; wearing a wide-brimmed, breathable hat; or using an umbrella.
  • Take a break from the heat by spending a few hours in a cool place.
  • Reschedule strenuous outdoor activity or plan outdoor activities during cooler parts of the day.
  • Wear loose-fitting, light-coloured clothing made of breathable fabric.
  • Take cool showers or baths until you feel refreshed.
  • Block sun out by closing awnings, curtains or blinds during the day.
  • Never leave people or pets in your care inside a parked vehicle or in direct sunlight.

Public health officials urge everyone to stay alert and take precautions.  Remember to frequently visit neighbours, friends, and older family members, especially those who are chronically ill, and those at higher risk, to make sure that they are cool and hydrated.

More information on protective measures can be found on our website www.kflapublichealth.ca and;

 

Contact:

Adrienne Hansen-Taugher, B.Sc(N)
Manager, Emergency Preparedness & Health Hazard

KFL&A Public Health
221 Portsmouth Avenue
Kingston, Ontario  K7M 1V5
613-549-1232, ext. 1256
Fax: 613-549-7896
ataugher@kflapublichealth.ca
www.kflapublichealth.ca