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Hastings and Prince Edward Public Health

Climate Change

Climate change is resulting in more frequent extreme weather events. We encourage people to take precautions in the event of extreme weather conditions such as extreme cold and extreme heat.

Extremely Cold Weather

If bitterly cold wind chills are forecast residents are urged to avoid health complications such as wind burn, frostbite and hypothermia. 

Hypothermia

Hypothermia occurs when the body temperature drops, in the following stages:

  • Stage 1: shivering and numbness, quick shallow breathing, tiredness and possible nausea.
  • Stage 2: strong shivering, muscles uncoordinated and movements are slow and laboured. Mild confusion, paleness and blue skin in extremities possible.
  • Stage 3: no shivering; trouble thinking, talking and walking; irrational behaviour. Heart may beat fast but breathing slow. Risk of dying.

How to Treat Hypothermia

Severe cases of hypothermia (stage 2 and 3) require immediate attention – call 911. For stage 1, and while waiting for help, keep warm and dry, keep muscles moving, drink warm sweet liquids, and allow shivering.

Cold Weather Warnings

A cold weather warning is issued when the temperature reaches -25°C or lower or -28°C or lower with wind chill. A cold weather health emergency is issued when the temperature reaches -35°C or lower or -55°C or colder with wind chill. 

Responding to Cold Weather

Protect yourself from extreme cold weather:

  • Stay in heated buildings as much as possible
  • Drink warm fluids, but avoid caffeinated or alcoholic beverages, as they cause your body to lose heat more rapidly
  • If going outside, dress in layers with a wind-resistant outer layer and cover all exposed skin
  • Avoid strenuous exercise outdoors, but stay moving (especially hands and feet) to keep blood flowing and maintain body heat
  • Be up to date on the weather conditions, wind chill alerts and extreme weather warnings before going outdoors or travelling

Extremely Hot Weather

When extreme hot and humid weather is predicted, it can put everyone at risk from heat illnesses such as heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat fainting, heat edema (swelling of hands, feet and ankles), heat rash and heat cramps.

Identifying Heat Illnesses

Watch for symptoms that include:

  • Dizziness or fainting, nausea or vomiting
  • Headache, rapid breathing and heartbeat
  • Extreme thirst and decreased urination with unusually dark yellow urine

Preventing Heat Illnesses

Heat illnesses are preventable:

  • Stay well hydrated, drink before feeling thirsty (plain water is best)
  • Stay in an air-conditioned place
  • Avoid sun exposure – stay in the shade, wear SPF 30+ sunscreen, a wide brimmed hat, UVA & UVB protective sunglasses, and loose fitting, light coloured, breathable clothing
  • Take cool showers or baths
  • Block the sun out by closing awnings, curtains or blinds during the day
  • Reschedule strenuous outdoor activities or plan them for cooler times of the day
  • Never leave people or pets in a parked vehicle or in direct sunlight
  • Visit neighbours, friends and older family members, especially those who are chronically ill, to make sure that they are cool and hydrated

Resources:

News, Research and Reports RELATED TO: Drinking Water, Outdoors, Extreme Heat and Cold Warnings

Public Health Alert – Cold Weather Health Warning

PUBLISHED: Thursday February 13, 2020

Silver Chain Challenge Begins June 1

PUBLISHED: Thursday May 30, 2019

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Alerts:

1) Our offices are temporarily closed to the public to allow us to respond to COVID-19 demands. Phone lines remain open. Please access our media release for more information.

2) Returning travellers must self-isolate for 14 days and contact Public Health if symptoms of COVID-19 develop.

If you have returned from travel anywhere outside of Canada, you must self-isolate for 14 days and immediately contact Public Health or your local health care provider if you develop symptoms of COVID-19. Earlier this month all travellers were asked to self-isolated when they returned to Canada. Effective March 25, the federal government made this isolation mandatory under the Quarantine Act to better protect our most vulnerable citizens. Each of us must make the responsible decision to follow the advice of health authorities. It’s in everyone’s best interest to do everything we can to stop the spread of COVID-19.