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KFL&A Public Health issues heat warning for region

Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington (KFL&A) Public Health has joined Environment Canada in issuing a heat warning for much of the region.

“Starting today, and continuing through to Wednesday, July 20, Environment Canada has issued a heat warning for South Frontenac, Plevna, Sharbot Lake, Sydenham, Tamworth, Bon Echo Park, and Denbigh due to high heat and humidex levels,” KFL&A Public Health said in the advisory. “Daytime high temperatures are expected to reach 31 degrees Celsius with humidex values in the upper thirties. Tonight’s overnight low near 20 degrees Celsius will provide little relief from the heat.”

According to KFL&A Public Health, the combination of heat and high humidity can be hazardous to your health. “Conditions during high heat and humidity have the potential to cause dehydration, heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and in some cases death,” the health unit said.

Heat warnings are issued by Environment Canada when the forecasted maximum temperature is expected to be greater than or equal to 31°C and the lowest night-time temperature is anticipated to be at or above 20°C for a period of 2 days or longer. A warning is also issued if the anticipated humidex is 40°C or warmer for a period of two days or longer.

According to Environment Canada, humidex values describe how the hot and humid weather feels to the average person. It combines the temperature and humidity readings into one number to reflect the perceived temperature. The higher the humidex, the harder it is for perspiration to evaporate to cool the body.

“During heat events everyone is at risk; however, the health risks are greatest for older adults, infants and young children,
people with chronic illnesses or who take certain medications, people who work or who exercise in the heat, and people without access to air-conditioned spaces,” KFL&A Public Health said. “If you or a loved one is in one of these highest risk groups, KFL&A Public Health recommends designating someone, a friend or neighbour, to do a wellness check on you or them throughout the duration of the Health Warning.”

KFL&A Public Health recommends taking the following actions to stay cool:

Drinking plenty of cool liquids, especially water, before feeling thirsty.
Avoiding direct sun exposure, for example, by sitting under a tree, wearing a wide-brimmed, breathable hat, or using an umbrella.
Taking a break from the heat by spending a few hours in a cool place; take cool showers.
Rescheduling strenuous outdoor activity or planning outdoor activities during cooler parts of the day.
Wearing loose-fitting, light-coloured clothing made of breathable fabric.
Preparing a basement, or cooler part of your home, for occupancy throughout the during the heat event.
Blocking the sun out by closing awnings, curtains, or blinds during the day, especially on the westerly facing side of the home or building.
Never leaving people or pets in your care inside a parked vehicle or in direct sunlight.

“Being prepared is key to protecting communities from negative health impacts,” the KFL&A Public Health advisory continued. “KFL&A Public Health encourages everyone to check on their neighbours, friends, and family members, especially those who are chronically ill, and those at higher risk, to make sure that they are cool and hydrated.”

More information on protective measures can be found on KFL&A Public Health’s website kflaph.ca.

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