Sunday, June 23 is going to be hot; please protect yourself - here's how

Ottawa Public Health (OPH) is issuing a heat warning for June 23 because the humidex is forecast to exceed 40 Celsius. It is important to know that extreme heat can cause dehydration, heat exhaustion, heat stroke and even death.

Seniors, infants, young children and the homeless are at greater risk of suffering from heat-related illnesses, as well as people taking medications for Parkinson’s disease or those taking antidepressants. OPH is encouraging people to check on family, friends and neighbours who may be isolated or vulnerable to the heat.

During a heat wave, residents and visitors should:

  • Drink plenty of fluids, preferably water, and limit or avoid caffeine and alcohol
  • Avoid strenuous physical activity outdoors
  • Avoid direct exposure to the sun and seek shade and shelter at the first signs of heat exposure
  • Spend at least two hours a day in an air-conditioned location, including shopping malls, local libraries or neighbourhood community centres
  • Never leave children, the elderly or pets unattended in a car, even with the windows open

Residents can cool down at City of Ottawa pools, splash pads, wading pools, beaches and community centres, as well as Ottawa Public Library branches. In addition, Rainbow Cinemas in the St. Laurent Centre has partnered with the City of Ottawa to provide reduced ticket rates to help people access air conditioning and to cool down during heat warnings.

High air pollution and UV index levels often occur during hot weather conditions.

  • People with breathing and heart problems, and parents and caregivers of children, should pay attention to the hourly Air Quality Health Index available at airhealth.ca or at 866-688-3810.
  • Check the UV index forecast daily at theweathernetwork.com, weather.gc.ca or in local media.
  • Choose a sunscreen and lip balm with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher.

As part of the City of Ottawa Heat Action Plan, OPH closely monitors the weather forecast for heat, smog and UV index levels and notifies residents, service providers and media when heat thresholds are met. We offer protective and proactive advice on how to deal with these summer conditions.

The smog, UV and heat thresholds are:

  • Heat Advisory (humidex of 36 or more for a least two consecutive days)
  • Heat Warning (humidex of 40 or more for at least two consecutive days)
  • Heat Emergency (humidex of 45 or more for at least two consecutive days or situational factors)
  • Smog Advisory (based on air quality index (AQI) of > 50)
  • UV Index Warning ( UV index of 10 or higher)

For additional information on ways to beat the heat, visit ottawa.ca/health or call Ottawa Public Health Information at 613-580-6744 (TTY: 613-580-9656). Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Tumblr.

It's cold out there today - take care and be safe!

Ottawa Public Health (OPH) has issued a Frostbite Warning to ensure people take appropriate precautions before going outside and to encourage homeless people to seek shelter from the cold indoors. This warning is in effect for the evening of January 22 until the morning of January 24, 2013.

A Frostbite Warning goes into effect when:

  • A wind chill of -35 or colder is predicted for the Ottawa area
  • Extreme weather conditions, such as a blizzard or an ice storm is predicted

With a wind chill of -35 or colder, exposed skin can freeze in less than ten minutes. There is also an increased risk of hypothermia for people who stay outside for long periods of time without adequate protection. Overexposure can result in severe injury and even death. OPH recommends that you wear several layers of clothing to keep warm and make sure that the outer layer protects you from wind and wetness.

The homeless are particularly vulnerable to cold weather. There are many services available to help the homeless:

  • Emergency sleeping spaces in Ottawa shelters
  • Street outreach services to encourage homeless people to come in from the cold
  • Provision of emergency transportation and other services by the Salvation Army

To seek assistance for a homeless person, concerned citizens are encouraged to call The Help for the Homeless Phone Line at 613-580-2626.

Calls are answered by the City of Ottawa Call Centre on a priority basis and referrals are made to the appropriate services.

Look for our live extreme weather updates on Twitter @OttawaHealth

For more information visit ottawa.ca/health or call 613-580-6744 (TTY: 613-580-9656). You can also connect with OPH on Facebook and Twitter (@ottawahealth) for the latest news from OPH.