Multi-day heat warning in effect for Kingston and area

Photo by Thiago Gomes.

A heat warning is in effect for most of Ontario this week, as temperatures are expected to reach 30 to 35 degrees Celcius.

In the warning, issued on the morning of Monday, Jun. 17, 2024, Environment Canada said that “dangerously” hot and humid conditions are expected through most of the week with little relief through the overnight as lows are expected to be 18 to 23 degrees Celsius (ºC) with humidex values of 26 to 30. Humidex values are expected to reach as high as 40 to 45ºC during the day.

“Hot and humid air can also bring deteriorating air quality and can result in the Air Quality Health Index approaching the high risk category,” Environment Canada stated. “Extreme heat can affect everyone’s health.”

Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington (KFL&A) Public Health has also issued a multi-day heat warning.

The local agency stated that conditions during high heat and humidity have the potential to cause dehydration and heat illnesses, which include heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat fainting, heat edema (swelling of hands, feet and ankles), heat rash and heat cramps (muscle cramps).

Watch for symptoms of heat illness, which include:

  • dizziness or fainting
  • nausea or vomiting
  • headache
  • rapid breathing and heartbeat
  • extreme thirst
  • decreased urination with unusually dark yellow urine

“If you experience any of these symptoms during extreme heat, immediately move to a cool place and drink liquids. Water is best,” KFL&A Public Health stated.

“A heat warning is issued by Environment Canada for the KFL&A area 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 two days or longer. A warning will also be issued if the anticipated humidex is 40°C or warmer for a period of two days or longer,” the health unit stated, noting that 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.

KFL&A Public Health said that during heat events everyone is at risk; however, the health risks are greatest for:

  • infants and young children
  • people who are pregnant
  • older adults
  • people who live alone
  • people with chronic medical conditions (for example, heart disease, respiratory conditions, those who are overweight or who have diabetes) or mental illnesses (for example, schizophrenia, depression, dementia)
  • people on certain types of medications (for example, for high blood pressure, for mental illnesses, etc.)
  • people experiencing homelessness, those who are underhoused or encounter other challenges in accessing cool spaces
  • people with limited mobility
  • people who exercise vigorously outdoors (play sports, cyclists, gardeners)
  • outdoor workers (depending upon length or time and exertion levels)
  • people who work in places where heat is emitted through industrial processes (for example, foundries, bakeries, dry cleaners)

“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 heat warning,” Public Health said.

Being prepared is key to protecting communities from negative health impacts. 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 and 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.

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 is available on KFL&A Public Health’s website kflaph.ca.

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