Environment and Climate Change Canada has issued a heat warning for Durham Region for conditions expected to begin Friday (July 26).
A heat warning occurs when the forecast conditions include a daytime high of at least 31° C and overnight temperatures of 20° C or greater or with Humidex values of at least 40 for two or more days.
“While extreme heat can put everyone at risk from heat illnesses, health risks are greatest for older adults, infants and young children, people with chronic illnesses such as breathing difficulties, heart conditions or psychiatric illnesses, people who work or who exercise in the heat, homeless people and low-income earners,” reads a media release from the Durham Region Health Department.
“Those who take medication or have a health condition should ask their doctor or pharmacist if these medications can increase their health risk in the heat and follow the appropriate recommendations.”
The health department also issued a crucial reminder to parents and caregivers.
“Never leave infants and young children inside a parked vehicle. This is especially important as when the outside air temperature is 23° C (73° F), the temperature inside a vehicle can be extremely dangerous and reach more than 50° C (122° F),” the media release reads.
“Anyone seeing a child left unattended in a hot vehicle at anytime should call 911 immediately.”
While preventable, heat illnesses can lead to long-term health problems and even death.
“If any symptoms of heat illness are present, such as dizziness or fainting, nausea or vomiting, headache, rapid breathing and heartbeat, or extreme thirst, immediately move to a cool place and drink liquids, especially water,” the media release reads.
The most dangerous heat illness is heat stroke with symptoms that include complete or partial loss of consciousness, or confusion and high body temperature.
“If caring for someone with these symptoms, call 911 immediately,” the media release reads.
“While waiting for help, cool the person right away by moving them to a cool place, applying cold water to large areas of the skin or clothing, while fanning the person as much as possible.”
Everyone is encouraged to take the following precautions to beat the heat and stay cool:
– 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 out the sun by opening awnings and closing curtains or blinds during the day.
– Avoid sun exposure. Shade yourself by wearing a wide-brimmed, breathable hat or using an umbrella.
– Reschedule or plan outdoor activities during cooler parts of the day.
– Never leave people or pets in your care inside a parked vehicle or in direct sunlight.