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;
- 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 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