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Health Unit Warns to Take Precautions During High Heat and Humidity

July 17, 2020

Due to extremely high temperatures and humidex levels expected over the weekend and likely into Monday. The Health Unit would like to remind everyone to be cautious as the combination of heat and high humidity can be hazardous to your health. Conditions during high heat and humidity have the potential to cause dehydration, heat exhaustion, heat stroke and in some cases death.

Dr. Paula Stewart, Medical Officer of Health for the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit, is advising the public to monitor the forecast over the next few days and to take the following precautions:

  • Do not leave children, adults or pets in parked cars or sleeping outside in direct sunlight.
  • Consult your doctor or pharmacist regarding the side effects of your medications.
  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day, even if you don’t feel very thirsty. Remember to take sips often and not to guzzle your drink. Learn more about hydration at unlockfood.ca
  • Eat foods that have high water content such as watermelon, grapes and oranges.
  • Limit caffeinated beverages such as coffee and cola.
  • Avoid going out in the blazing sun or heat. If you must go outside, stay in the shade as much as possible.
  • Visit a local pool or beach – A list of beaches sampled are on our website along with the most recent water sample results.
  • Take a cool bath or shower periodically or cool down with cool, wet towels.
  • Whenever possible go to an air-conditioned room or building, including shopping malls and libraries.
  • Wear loose fitting, light clothing and a wide-brimmed hat when outdoors.
  • If you are heading out to a store where you may have to stand in line outside, bring your face covering/mask and put it on when you are at the front of the line so you are not wearing it in the heat for a long time.
  • Keep window shades or drapes drawn and blinds closed on the sunny side of your home.
  • Keep electric lights off or turned down low.
  • If you can, eat a variety of foods that can be prepared safely without using the oven.
  • Don’t skip meals, instead eat smaller amounts more often. Use Canada’s New Food Guide. Check out the snacks on this page.
  • Use fans to draw cool air at night, but do not rely on a fan as a main cooling device during long periods of high heat and humidity.
  • Reduce the use of personal vehicles, stop unnecessary idling; avoid using oil-based paints and glues, pesticides and gas-powered small engines.

Everyone is at risk; however the following are in greater danger of being affected:

  • elderly
  • people with chronic illness or who take certain medications
  • infants and preschool children
  • people who have challenges with housing and shelter
  • people who participate in physical activity or are involved in strenuous outdoor work for prolonged period

During a Heat Warning, the public is strongly encouraged to check on a neighbour or a friend who may have a greater risk of suffering negative health consequences from the heat and humidity.

Even short periods of exposure to high temperatures can cause health problems. If you experience the following symptoms after exposure to extreme heat seek medical attention immediately:

  • Nausea, dizziness, blurred vision
  • Difficulty or rapid breathing
  • Severe headache or confusion
  • Convulsion
  • Fever

It is important to remember that when visiting public facilities such as libraries, malls, public pools and beaches, you must maintain physical distancing of 2m/6ft from others outside your social circle, and wear a face covering/mask, unless exempted, when you are in an indoor public space. Please be patient and kind to others using the facilities.

For more information on how to protect your health during extreme heat, visit our Exposure to Hot/Cold Temperatures page. For specific health heat-related questions call 1-800-660-5853 or 613-345-5685. You can also connect with us on Facebook and Twitter @LGLHealthUnit for important public health updates. 

Contact

For media interviews, contact: Susan Healey, Communications Co-ordinator 613-802-0550.