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Heat Warnings

 

Learn about heat illnesses and how to take precautions and prevent health issues in extreme heat.

 

Many people look forward to enjoying the outdoors during the summer. While it is important to spend time outside, it is also important to remember the health problems extreme heat and humidity can cause.

What is a heat warning/extended heat warning and when is it issued?

Heat Warning

When forecast temperatures are expected to be at least 31°C and overnight temperatures are above 20°C for 2 days or the humidex is at least 40 for 2 days.

Extended Heat Warning

When forecast temperatures are expected to be at least 31°C and overnight temperatures are above 20°C for at least 3 days or humidex is at least 40 for at least 3 days.

What is humidex?

Humidex describes how hot, humid weather feels to the average person. This measurement is calculated using temperature and humidity readings.

Who is at greatest risk from extreme heat?

Extreme heat and humidity is a potential danger to us all. Factors such as obesity, dehydration, fever, infection, sunburn and alcohol abuse can increase a person's risk.

Those at greatest risk include:

  • Older adults (over the age of 65)
  • Infants and young children
  • People with chronic illness such as heart disease or asthma
  • People with physical or mental disabilities
  • People who work in the heat
  • People who exercise in the heat
  • People who have limited resources to protect themselves

Checking in on family and friends

During extreme heat, please check-in regularly, by phone or video, with vulnerable family, friends and neighbours, especially older adults who live on their own to make sure they are staying cool and hydrated. This includes:

  • older adults (over the age of 65), infants and young children, people who work and exercise in the heat, people without adequate housing and those without air conditioning
  • people who have breathing difficulties, heart problems, kidney problems or take heat-sensitive medications

If phone or video is not possible, when checking-in with vulnerable individuals, remember to practice physical distancing and wash your hands regularly. If physical distancing is difficult to maintain, wear a non-medical mask.

What are heat illnesses?

When a person's body temperature rises quickly and sweating is not enough to cool the body, heat illness occurs. High body temperatures can lead to:

  • Heat stroke
  • Heat exhaustion
  • Fainting
  • Heat cramps (muscle cramps)
  • Heat rash
  • Heat edema (swelling of hands, feet and ankles)

What are symptoms of heat illness?

If you experience any of the following symptoms during extreme heat, immediately find a cool place and rehydrate by drinking liquids. Water is best.

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

How can I prevent heat illness?

  • Pay close attention to how you feel while outside in the heat
  • Check-in regularly, by phone or video, with vulnerable family, friends and neighbours, especially older adults who live on their own to make sure they are staying cool and hydrated to make sure that they are staying cool and hydrated.
  • Plan outdoor activities during cooler parts of the day
  • Close awnings and curtains to block out the sun
  • Avoid sun exposure. Wear a wide-brimmed hat or use an umbrella.
  • Wear loose-fitting, light-coloured clothing made of breathable fabric
  • Drink plenty of cool liquids, especially water before you feel thirsty
  • Prepare meals that do not require cooking in the oven
  • Take cool showers or baths
  • Never leave people or pets in a parked vehicle

Are there cooling centres in Halton?

Some of the locations that provided relief from heat such as libraries and community centres may not be open yet as part of the Province’s Stage 3 of reopening the economy.

Please review tips on how to stay cool and prevent heat illness.

For more on whether your local municipality is offering cooling centres, visit your local municipal website:

What can I do to help prepare for extreme heat events?

  • Ensure air conditioners are working properly.
  • Ask your doctor or pharmacist if certain medications you may be taking can increase your health risk in the sun and heat.
  • Choose light-coloured paint for the exterior of your home.
  • Plant a broadleaf tree to provide shade and shelter to the house.

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