Watch for Heat Warnings to be issued this Summer

Submitted by the HKPR District Health Unit

When hot, humid weather hits home this summer, take precautions to beat the heat, the local Health Unit advises.

This summer, the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit will issue public warnings in the lead-up to extremely warm conditions in Haliburton County, Northumberland County and the City of Kawartha Lakes. A heat warning will be issued when day-time temperatures are forecast to be 31°C or higher, with a minimum day-time low of 20°C or higher, for two consecutive days. A heat warning is also issued if the humidex will be 40°C or higher for two consecutive days.The Health Unit will issue an extended heat warning when the same conditions apply, but the heat event is expected to last for three or more days in a row.

Notifications will be posted on the Health Unit’s Facebook (www.facebook.com/HKPRDHU) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/HKPRDHU) pages. Information is also available by calling the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 5006.

“Heat-related illnesses can take a toll on many people, especially infants, older adults and people with chronic conditions,” says Melissa Johnstone, Emergency Management Coordinator with the Health Unit. “If a heat warning is issued, residents are encouraged not to overdo things and instead drink plenty of water and seek out cool places.”

During heat warnings, many municipalities open cooling centres where people can visit to beat the heat. Johnstone suggests people contact their local municipality for the locations of cooling centres in their community. People are also encouraged to:

  • Avoid going out in the sun or heat when possible.

  • Stay cool, and if possible, stay in an air-conditioned place. If your home does not have air conditioning, go to the shopping mall, library, community centre, or friend's house.

  • Stay in the shade as much as possible. If you plan to go outside during a very hot day, do so early in the morning or evening when it is cooler.

  • Avoid outdoor sports and physical activity.

  • Wear loose-fitting, light clothing and a wide brimmed hat.

  • Drink lots of water, even if you don't feel very thirsty. Avoid alcohol, coffee/tea and pop.

  • Check in regularly with vulnerable family, friends, neighbours and others who could be affected by the heat. These include children, older adults and persons with chronic illnesses. Make sure they are OK and are well-hydrated.

  • Avoid heavy meals that involve using the oven or other hot appliances.

  • Keep shades, drapes and blinds closed on the sunny side of your home, but keep windows open slightly. If you do not have air conditioning, use fans.

  • Keep lights off or turned low.

  • Take a cool bath or shower periodically, or cool down with cool, wet towels.

  • Never leave a child or pet in a closed, parked vehicle.