Halton Medical Officer of Health issues extended heat warning

The Halton Region Medical Officer of Health has issued an extended heat warning for Halton Region effective Sunday, July 24.

The warning comes as Environment Canada announced that daytime temperatures on Sunday would be near 30°C with Humidex readings nearing 40°C.

Halton’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr Hamidah Meghani, said an extended heat warning is issued when daytime temperatures are expected to reach at least 31C, with nighttime temperatures above 20C for three or more days, or when the Humidex is expected to reach 40 C for three days or more.

Exposure to these weather conditions can cause serious health problems.

Meghani said the warning is to inform the general public and community organizations to keep residents safe and healthy during the heat and to recommend that precautions be taken when temperatures are high.

“Halton Region wants all of its residents to have a safe and healthy summer,” Meghani said. “Heat-related illnesses can affect anyone. Symptoms include dizziness or fainting, nausea or vomiting, headache, rapid breathing and heartbeat, extreme thirst, and decreased urination. If you experience symptoms from heat exposure, immediately move to a cool place and drink fluids, ideally water.

Meghani said heat stroke is a medical emergency and noted that residents should call 911 if anyone has a high body temperature and is unconscious, confused or has stopped sweating.

She advised the public to keep a person suffering from heatstroke cool as best they can while waiting for medical attention to arrive.

The medical officer of health noted that depending on hours of operation, some of the places that provide heat relief, such as libraries and community centers, may not be open.

Therefore, she said it was extremely important to regularly check in with family, friends and vulnerable neighbours, especially older people who live alone, to ensure they are staying cool and hydrated.

People most exposed to heat are the elderly (over 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 or kidney difficulties or who take medications that increase their heat health risk.

According to Environment Canada, slightly cooler temperatures are expected to arrive on Monday after the passage of a cold front.

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