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Very Hot, Hazy and Humid Conditions Lead to First Heat Alert of the Year

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London, ON – The Medical Officer of Health has issued Middlesex-London’s first Heat Alert of 2012. The alert will only be in effect today, due to the combination of the Smog Advisory issued for the London and Middlesex region by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and the local Environment Canada forecast, which calls for a daytime high of 32o Celsius. It is expected that the combination of the forecasted temperatures and the Smog Alert is expected to result in humidex values of greater than 38o Celsius, one of the Health Unit’s triggers for a Heat Alert.

"It’s important to plan your day around the weather conditions. We know air quality is going to be poor today so it will be important for those who work outdoors, or who plan to exercise outside today, to drink water and take frequent breaks to get out of the heat,” says Iqbal Kalsi, Manager of Environmental Health at the Middlesex-London Health Unit. “Whether you’re healthy, or if you have a medical condition, our advice is to take things easy and not overexert yourself today.”

The combination of high heat and high humidity can be very dangerous. Anyone who finds they are suffering symptoms associated with extreme temperature conditions should seek medical attention immediately either by calling 911 or going to the nearest Emergency Department.

To avoid heat-related illness, please follow these tips:

  • Drink plenty of water and natural juices throughout the day, even if you don't feel very thirsty. Remember to take sips often and not to guzzle your drink.
  • Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages, coffee and cola.
  • Where possible, avoid spending much time outdoors. If you be outside, stay in the shade as much as possible. Plan necessary outdoor activities in early morning or evening.
  • Wear a wide-brimmed hat when outdoors.
  • Keep window shades or drapes drawn and blinds closed on the sunny side of your home.
  • Avoid turning on electric lights in the home.
  • Take a cool bath or shower periodically or cool down with cool, wet towels.
  • Wear loose fitting, light clothing.
  • Avoid eating heavy meals and using your oven.
  • Avoid intense or moderately intense physical activity.
  • Never leave a child or pet in a parked car or sleeping outside in direct sunlight.
  • Use fans to draw cool air at night, but do not rely on a fan as a primary cooling device during extended periods of excessive heat.
  • Consult your doctor or pharmacist about the side effects of any medications you are taking.
  • Reduce the use of personal vehicles, stop unnecessary idling; avoid using oil-based paints and glues, pesticides and gas-powered small engines.

If you experience any of the following symptoms of heat illness, seek help from a friend, relative or a doctor:

  • Rapid breathing
  • Weakness or fainting
  • More tiredness than usual
  • Headache
  • Confusion

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

  • Call for help.
  • Move the person to a cooler location.
  • Remove excess clothing from the person.
  • Cool the person with lukewarm water, by sponging or bathing.
  • Give the person sips of cool water if they are not nauseated or vomiting. Do not give ice cold water.

As an owner or operator of residential buildings, landlords can take these actions to decrease the risk of heat-related illness to your residents:

  • Provide residents access to a cooler spot for several hours at a time, e.g. a common room with air conditioning or a basement area.
  • Keep windows in hallways slightly open to allow air to circulate.
  • Use fans to draw cool air at night, but do not rely on a fan as a primary cooling device during extended periods of excessive heat.
  • Provide heat safety information to residents or post the information in common areas e.g. by the elevator, in the lobby.
  • Have building staff check on at-risk residents every few hours.
  • Advise residents to drink lots of water and natural fruit juices even if they don't feel thirsty.
  • Ask residents to keep windows open and the drapes drawn.
  • Keep lights off. Do not use stove or oven.
  • Suggest residents cool down with cool baths, showers, foot baths or by placing cool, wet towels on their necks or underarms.
  • Suggest tenants avoid midday sun or heat and go outside in the morning or evening when it is cooler.

For complete information on heat-related illness, or the effects of smog and humidity please contact the Middlesex-London Health Unit at 519-663-5317 or visit

For a listing of City of London splash pads and times they are open please visit the city's web site at

For the addresses of local libraries, please call 519-661-4600.

For 24-hour-a-day free advice from a Health Professional, call Telehealth Ontario, seven days a week at 1-866-797-0000.

For information about pet care please contact the London Animal Care Centre 519-685-1330 or visit

Media Contact:
Dan Flaherty, Communications Manager, Middlesex-London Health Unit 519-663-5317 ext. 2469 or 519-617-0570 (cell.)

Iqbal Kalsi, Manager of Environmental Health, Middlesex-London Health Unit

Tags: news, media release, weather, alert