Public Health Issues Heat Alert for Peterborough City and County

Written by admin, August 3, 2012

August 3, 2012 – Residents Advised to Take Precautions to Avoid Heat-Related Illness

The Peterborough Public Health is issuing a Heat Alert for Peterborough City and County for Friday, August 3 and Saturday, August 4.  The Public Health has been closely monitoring the weather forecast for the upcoming long weekend. This Heat Alert is being issued to help residents prepare for the hot, humid weather in the forecast.

A Heat Alert is issued when the daytime temperatures or Humidex are forecast to be at least 36°C or 36 for two or more consecutive days without a smog advisory. Depending on changes to the weather forecast over the next few days, the Heat Alert may be elevated to a Heat Warning or lifted.

Extreme heat events are a potentially significant health risk and can have a severe impact on the health of vulnerable populations including infants, the elderly, shut-ins, persons with chronic diseases, the morbidly obese and the marginally housed.  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.

People taking medications may be more vulnerable to extreme heat as certain medications may interfere with the body’s cooling functions and water/salt retention. People taking antihypertensives, antidepressants, antipsychotics and anti-Parkinson’s agents are more likely to experience difficulty adapting to high temperatures and should consult with their healthcare provider to see if they are at an increased health risk in the heat.

In order to protect the health of people in Peterborough County and City, Curve Lake First Nation and Hiawatha First Nation, Public Health advises local residents to take the following precautions:

  • Drink lots of water and natural fruit juices before you feel thirsty.  Avoid alcoholic beverages, coffee and cola.
  • Avoid going out in the blazing sun or heat when possible.  If you must go outside, stay in the shade as much as possible and plan to go out early in the morning or evening when it is cooler.
  • Go to air conditioned or cool places such as shopping malls, libraries, community centres or a friend’s place for a couple of hours.
  • 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.
  • Keep lights off or turned down low.
  • Wear loose fitting, light clothing and a wide brimmed hat.
  • Take a cool bath or shower periodically or cool down with cool, wet towels.
  • Avoid heavy meals and using your oven.
  • Avoid intense or moderately intense physical activity.

Symptoms of heat exhaustion include:

  • heavy sweating
  • muscle cramps
  • weakness
  • headache
  • fainting
  • paleness, tiredness
  • dizziness, nausea

Public, air conditioned facilities such as malls, libraries and community centres are available to residents seeking a place to cool off. Residents are advised to phone in advance to determine hours of operation.

For further information, please contact:

Julie Ingram
Public Health Inspector
(705) 743-1000, ext. 351