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Heat Alert Issued for Haldimand and Norfolk

SIMCOE, AUG. 2, 2007 – The Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit issued a heat alert for the two counties today.

“As long as this hot spell continues, people need to take extra precautions to avoid heat-related illness,” warned Glen Steen, the Health Unit’s Healthy Environment Program Coordinator. “One of the most important things to remember is to drink lots of water and find cool shelter whenever possible. Visit shopping malls, local libraries or air-conditioned community centres to cool down.”

To avoid succumbing to heat illnesses, the Health Unit offers several “beat the heat” tips:

  • Minimize exercise or work activity during high temperatures and/or high humidity, especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • Use sunscreen
  • Drink water before, during and after heat exposure, even if you don’t feel thirsty
  • Avoid coffee, tea, cola and alcohol, as they increase dehydration
  • Wear a wide-brimmed hat and loose-fitting, long-sleeved, light-coloured clothing
  • 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
  • Take a cool bath or shower periodically or cool down with cool, wet towels
  • Avoid heavy meals and using your oven
  • Be aware that infants, children, seniors and overweight people are at higher risk
  • Never leave a child in a parked car or asleep in direct sunlight
  • Seek shelter and drink water immediately if you start to feel any heat stress symptoms

Get help from a friend, relative or doctor if you have these symptoms of heat illness:

  • Rapid breathing or difficulty breathing
  • Weakness, dizziness or fainting
  • More tiredness than usual
  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Nausea

Friends and relatives can help someone with heat illness by doing the following:

  • Call for help
  • Remove extra clothing from the person
  • Cool the person with lukewarm water, by sponging or bathing
  • Move the person to a cooler location
  • Give the person sips of cool water, but not ice-cold water
  • Even a few hours in a cooler environment during extremely hot weather lowers the core body temperature and helps save lives

If you feel ill, faint, have difficulty breathing or feel disoriented, visit your doctor or the hospital right away.

Media contact information:

Glen Steen, Program Coordinator,
Healthy Environment,
Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit
519-426-6170 Ext. 3204