Heat Health Warning issued by Public Health

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null Heat Health Warning issued by Public Health

August 4, 2016 -

An Extended Heat Health Warning has been issued by KFL&A Public Health to advise area health professionals and community service providers of an extended period of hot and humid weather which may have adverse health effects.  According to Environment Canada, the hot weather conditions will start Thursday, August 4, 2016 and persist into Friday, August 5, 2016 with humidex values expected in the upper 30's. Temperatures are expected cool off by Friday evening with the passage of a cold front. This warning is in effect for all areas within Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington Counties. 

Beginning this summer, KFL&A Public Health has adopted a new harmonized heat warning and information system developed in collaboration with Environment Canada, Health Canada, the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and other local public health agencies. A heat warning will now be issued when the forecasted maximum daily temperature is expected to be greater than or equal to 31C and the lowest nighttime temperature is anticipated to be at or above 20C for a period of 2 days or longer. A warning will also be issued if the anticipated humidex is 40 or warmer for a period of 2 days or longer.

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.

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
  • People without access to cool places

Know the signs of heat-related illness and 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, and fan the person as much as possible.

Take the following actions to stay cool:

Stay hydrated

  • Drink plenty of cool liquids, especially water, before feeling thirsty.

Stay cool 

  • 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.
  • Avoid sun exposure.  Shade yourself by sitting under a tree, wearing a wide-brimmed, breathable hat, or using an umbrella.
  • Wear loose-fitting, light-coloured clothing made of breathable fabric.
  • In your home, block the sun by closing awnings, curtains or blinds during the day.
  • Outdoor workers should follow heat stress guidelines from the Ontario Ministry of Labour.
  • Never leave people or pets inside a parked vehicle or in direct sunlight.

Check in

  • Check in frequently with people who are isolated, elderly, have mobility issues, and those who have chronic health conditions. They may have difficulty accessing a cool place and are at high risk of heat related illness and death.

Heat-related illness and death is preventable. Public health officials urge everyone to be aware of the health impacts of extreme heat and take precautions. 

More information on protective measures can be found on our website www.kflaph.ca and the City's Extreme Weather page - https://www.cityofkingston.ca/resident/emergency-services/extreme-weather

 - 30 -

Adrienne Hansen-Taugher, RN, BSc(N), MPA
Manager, Infectious Disease Prevention & Emergency Preparedness
Phone: 613-549-1232, ext. 1256
Toll-Free: 1-800-267-7875
Fax: 613-549-7896
Adrienne.Hansen-Taugher@kflapublichealth.ca

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