Are You Ready for Summer?
Written by Comms Team, June 13, 2022
Peterborough Public Health Activates Heat Warning System
With summer quickly approaching, Peterborough Public Health has activated its Heat Warning and Information System (HWIS) to advise residents of the best way to protect their health when temperatures soar. Heat can be harmful, and even deadly for residents, particular those who are more vulnerable and isolated. All residents should be aware of heat and protections to take for themselves and those more vulnerable to heat.
Environment and Climate Change Canada will issue Heat Warnings in advance of the heat event. Forecasters will assess if two or more consecutive days of weather that meet either the humidex or temperature criteria (daytime highs or nighttime lows) are expected in the region. If so, a Heat Warning will be issued. Information about these warning levels is available on the Extreme Weather – Heat webpage under Environmental Hazards on www.peterboroughpublichealth.ca and outlined below.
The Ontario Heat Warning Protocol includes two warning levels:
Level 1: Heat Warning
A Heat Warning is issued when two consecutive days are forecasted to have a daytime high temperature greater than or equal to 31°C AND a nighttime temperature greater than or equal to 20°C or a humidex greater than or equal to 40. This level of warning reminds residents of the following core messages: to keep their home cool, stay out of the heat, keep the body cool and hydrated, assist others, and recognize the symptoms of heat exhaustion.
Level 2: Extended Heat Warning
An Extended Heat Warning will be issued for a heat event lasting three or more days. This level of warning reminds residents of the core messages above, in addition to providing details on how and where to stay cool, advising suspension of strenuous outdoor activities, reminders to assist vulnerable groups, and to watch for further information through the media and the Public Health website.
Extreme heat events are a potentially significant health risk and can have a severe impact on the health of vulnerable populations. This includes infants, the elderly, shut-ins, persons with chronic diseases, the morbidly obese and the marginally housed. It also can increase the health risks among those who use certain medications and people who use illicit drugs. Heat related illnesses such as dehydration, heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke are preventable. Most healthy people can tolerate a short period of hot and humid weather as long as they stay cool and drink plenty of fluids.
Julie Ingram, Manager of Environmental Health stresses that residents need to take extreme heat events seriously and not to underestimate the potential impact they can have. “Recall the extreme heat event experienced in British Columbia last summer. Tragically, this extreme heat event killed close to 600 people,” said Ingram. “Many of these individuals were elderly. Many individuals died after overheating in their own home. During a heat event, if you are able to, check on your friends, family and neighbours who may be more susceptible to the impacts of extreme heat.”
Peterborough Public Health encourages all stakeholders to advise at-risk clients of the heat advisory system and precautions they can take to prevent and manage heat related illness.
During heat warnings, One Roof Community Centre will extend its hours of service to 8:30 a.m. to noon and from 1:00 – 9:30p.m. One Roof will close between noon and 1:00 p.m. for meal preparation and cleaning; a lunch meal will be served between 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. One Roof Community Centre provides services on behalf of the City of Peterborough and is located at 99 Brock Street. For full description of meals and other services that One Roof provides, please visit its website at www.oneroofptbo.ca.
How to Protect Yourself During Hot Weather:
- Drink lots of water even if you don’t feel very thirsty. Avoid alcoholic beverages, coffee and cola.
- Avoid going out in the direct sun or heat when possible. If you go outside, rest frequently in green spaces with lots of shade and plan to go out early in the morning or in the evening when it is cooler.
- Use an air conditioner if possible, and if you don’t have air conditioning, keep shades or drapes drawn and blinds closed on the sunny side of your home, but keep windows slightly open.
- Wear loose fitting, light clothing and a wide brimmed hat.
- Keep lights off or turned down low.
- Take a cool bath or shower periodically or cool down with cold, wet towels.
- Avoid heavy meals and using your oven.
- Avoid intense or moderately intense physical activity.
- If you are taking 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 illnesses include heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat fainting, heat edema (swelling of hands, feet, and ankles), heat rash, and heat cramps. Watch for symptoms of heat illness, which may include:
- heavy sweating;
- muscle cramps and/or headache;
- weakness, dizziness, or fainting;
- nausea or vomiting;
- paleness, tiredness;
- rapid breathing and heartbeat;
- extreme thirst; or
- decreased urination with unusually dark yellow urine.
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For further information, please contact:
A/ Communications Manager
705-743-1000 ext. 352