SIMCOE, May 25, 2020 – The Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit’s Medical Officer of Health is issuing a Heat Warning for the residents and visitors of Haldimand and Norfolk counties. A Heat Warning is issued when two consecutive days are forecasted to have a daytime high temperature of 31°C or higher and a nighttime temperature of 20°C or higher or when two consecutive days are forecasted to have a humidex 40°C or higher. Hot and humid conditions are expected until May 27, 2020. The HNHU recommends that persons take steps to prevent heat-related illness.
Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, many of the facilities (e.g. libraries, pools, arenas, community centres) made available by Haldimand and Norfolk counties to assist with managing extreme heat are currently closed under provincial requirements. Nevertheless, people can still take the precautions listed below to protect themselves and their loved ones during extreme heat events:
- Stay indoors in an air conditioned environment
- Drink plenty of cool liquids, especially water, before feeling thirsty.
- Wear loose-fitting, light-coloured clothing made of breathable fabric.
- Take cool showers or baths until you feel refreshed.
- Take a break from the heat by spending a few hours in a cool place.
- Block sun out by closing awnings, curtains or blinds during the day.
- If you must be outdoors, avoid sun exposure by staying in the shade; wear a wide-brimmed, breathable hat or use an umbrella.
- Plan outdoor activities during cooler parts of the day (the early morning or in the evening).
- Never leave people or pets in your care inside a parked vehicle or in direct sunlight.
Staying outdoors during extreme heat events can lead to a heat stroke. A person experiencing heat stroke will have a high body temperature and appear confused, unconsciousness or have stopped sweating. Severe cases can lead to organ failure and death. If you suspect someone is experiencing a heat stroke call 911 immediately. While waiting for help, move the individual to a cool place, apply cold water to large areas of their skin and fan the person as much as possible.
The HNHU also recommends calling neighbours, friends and family members, especially the elderly and those who are chronically ill, during heat events to check on them and make sure they are keeping cool and hydrated.