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​Heat, Air Quality and Sun Safety

The Brant County Health Unit lets the community know about heat warnings, as they are issued by Environment and Climate Change Canada, and shares information to help everyone keep cool and safe in the hot weather.

The Medical Officer of Health for the Brant County Health Unit calls a Heat Warning when Environment and Climate Change Canada reports a temperature and humidex of more than 31o Celsius or a humidex of more than 40o Celsius

This warning remains in effect on a daily basis until cancelled. 

While everyone is at risk from extreme heat, the health risks are greater for these people:

  • older adults;
  • infants and young children;
  • people with chronic illnesses such as breathing difficulties, heart conditions or psychiatric illnesses;
  • people who work and/or exercise in the heat ; and
  • those without air conditioning in their homes.

Visit neighbours, friends and older family members, especially those who are chronically ill, to ensure they are cool and hydrated.

If you take medication or have a health condition, ask your doctor or pharmacist if it increases your health risk in the heat and follow their recommendations.

Heat Related Illness

Heat-related illnesses include heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat fainting, heat edema (swelling of hands, feet and ankles), heat rash and heat cramps. Symptoms of these illnesses may include:

  • dizziness or fainting;
  • nausea or vomiting;
  • headache;
  • rapid breathing and heartbeat;
  • extreme thirst; and
  • decreased urination with unusually dark yellow urine.

If you experience any of these symptoms during extreme heat, immediately move to a cool place and drink liquids. Water is best.

Heat-related illnesses are preventable. To reduce your risk of heat-related illness, here are a few things you can do:

  • Avoid the sun.
  • Drinking lots of cool liquids, especially water before you feel thirsty. Thirst is not a reliable measure of dehydration.
  • Reschedule or plan outdoor activities during cooler parts of the day.
  • Wear loose-fitting, light-coloured clothing made of breathable fabric.
  • Never leave people or pets in your care inside a parked vehicle or in direct sunlight.
  • Take a break from the heat in cool places, including a tree-shaded area, swimming facility or an air-conditioned building such as a community centre, shopping mall, grocery store, place of worship or public library.
  • Take cool showers or baths.
  • Prepare meals that don't need to be cooked in an oven.
  • Block sun out by closing curtains or blinds during the day.
  • Shade yourself by wearing a wide-brimmed, breathable hat or using an umbrella

Heat Stroke

Heat stroke is a medical emergency.

Call 911 immediately if you are caring for someone who has a high body temperature and is unconscious, confused or has stopped sweating.

While waiting for medical help to arrive, if you can, help cool the person by:

  • moving them to a cool place;
  • applying cold water to large areas of the skin or clothing; and
  • fanning the person as much as possible

When air quality is a concern, the Medical Officer of Health for the Brant County Health Unit will issue an adverse air quality advisory.

The Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) is an online tool that helps Canadians across the country protect their health on a daily basis from the negative effects of air pollution, in real time.

The Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) determines the air quality where you live.

When a heat warning comes with an adverse air quality advisory:

  • reduce strenuous activity during periods of extreme heat;
  • plan physical activities for cooler parts of the day;
  • exercise in an air-conditioned place, or a cooler outdoor location such as a tree-shaded area; and
  • avoid high traffic areas because pollution levels tend to be higher on hot days.
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The Brant County Health Unit provides information on how you can protect yourself

from the harmful effects of sun exposure
  • Seek shade or create your own shade when outside, especially between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.
  • Wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses
  • Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher
  • Use a lip balm with SPF and reapply when needed

Environmental Health
​519-753-4937 ext. 470

Chronic Disease Prevention
519-753-4937 ext. 472