Beat the Heat 2020

Beat the Heat 2020


When both temperature and humidity are high, it can be hard for our bodies to keep cool and not overheat. Extreme heat events can cause heat-related illnesses and in some cases, even death. Environment and Climate Change Canada issues heat warnings based on a forecast of:
• Daytime temperature of 31ºC or higher and nighttime temperature not cooler than 20ºC for at least two days, or
• Humidex of 40 C for at least two days
Heat warnings mean extra precautions need to be taken by everyone. Some of the usual ways we cool off may not be available this summer because of measures put in place to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Wearing a face mask when it is hot may require extra breaks from the heat. It will be important to think ahead and plan for ways to stay cool and keep in touch with others who may not be able to stay cool, especially during a heat warning.
Please check the City of Ottawa's website for opening dates, locations and hours of service at Ottawa.ca/ for the following public facilities:
• Splash pads are currently open.
• Public beaches will open on June 27 (Britannia beach will be closed for the season). See beach water quality daily updates.
• Wading pools and outdoor and indoor swimming pools will begin a phased opening in July.
People at risk of getting sick from the heat include infants and older adults; those who work or exercise outdoors; those with pre-existing health conditions; people experiencing homelessness, and people without access to air conditioning.
Protect Yourself and Help Others during Hot Weather
• Drink plenty of water and avoid alcohol and caffeine
• Avoid heavy outdoor activity
• Wear a hat, light and loose-fitting clothing, sunscreen and sunglasses when outside
• Bring an umbrella and water when leaving home in case you need to wait outdoors in the heat, such as waiting to enter a store in a lineup
• Cool off in an air-conditioned space when available
• Cool off in the shade or at a park or greenspace.
• Use a fan and mist your skin with water
• Take cool baths and showers as often as needed or soak hands and/or feet in cool water
• Breastfeed according to your child’s cues and drink plenty of water if you are breastfeeding. See our Parenting in Ottawa website for more info on keeping children safe during hot weather
• Keep your home cool by closing blinds and curtains on any windows facing the sun
• Open windows at night once the outdoor air is cooler than the indoor air; close windows in the morning before hotter air comes in
• Use fans at night to help exhaust warm indoor air and bring in cool outdoor air
• Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist if you are taking medications as some can make it harder to control body temperature.
• Stay connected with people in your community who have a difficult time coping with hot weather and those who live alone. Check on them regularly.
Hot weather concerns and face masks:
Wearing a mask is important to decrease transmission of COVID-19 in any indoor setting where it may be difficult to maintain at least two-metre distancing or the room or corridor is small. Wearing a mask may not be necessary outdoors (where higher temperatures may be more of a concern) if distances can be maintained.
Masks do become more uncomfortable in hot temperatures, but they will still work. The general public should plan outdoor outings for the coolest times of the day and take breaks in the shade or a cool environment if they are finding a face mask uncomfortable in the heat.
For people undertaking physical exertion in heat, a mask can make the effort more difficult. Decreasing intensity/volume of work, more frequent rests, and more cooling breaks may be necessary. Discuss your health needs with your employer.
For more information visit our website at OttawaPublicHealth.ca/heat or call us weekdays at 613-580-6744.

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