Hot weather prompts advisories from some Ontario public health units

·2 min read

TORONTO — Some public health units in southwestern Ontario issued heat advisories on Wednesday, warning residents to take precautions against hot and humid weather expected across the region.

Environment Canada issued a special weather statement as temperatures across the region were forecast to reach up to 33C. Southwestern Public Health issued a heat warning and the London-Middlesex health unit issued a heat alert.

"During a heat warning, residents should take precautions to protect themselves and the most vulnerable from heat-related illness," Southwestern Public Health wrote in a statement.

"Anyone who experiences physical distress because of extreme temperatures should immediately seek medical attention."

An emergency physician at the London Health Sciences Centre said the hospital expects an uptick in patients during hot weather spells.

Dr. Justin Yan said they see an increase in patients who are dizzy, fatigued, nauseated and some who faint.

"The vast majority of the time they're mild and they resolve after a little bit of fluid or somebody has moved to a cooler environment and feels better," Yan said.

Emergency departments across the province are feeling the strain of staffing shortages, much of them in nursing. Some have closed temporarily for hours or even days at a time in recent weeks.

The London hospital's emergency department is also dealing with staffing shortages, but Yan said they aren't expecting a spike in patients coming in for heat-related illnesses, adding that care is available if needed.

"We are always open," he said. "We do our best to see our sickest patients first and get everyone seen and everyone treated appropriately."

The hot weather can lead to heat stroke, although Yan said those cases are rare. But some populations, like those living outside or those who have chronic medical conditions, should take precautions and try to find somewhere to cool off.

Environment Canada said it didn't issue a heat warning for the region because a cold front is expected to pass through on Thursday.

The agency issues a heat warning when temperatures are forecasted at 31C or humidex values of 42C for at least two days.

It said temperatures are expected to dip to 28C on Thursday with a chance of showers and a risk of thunderstorms in southwestern Ontario.

Highs in the region will remain near or above 30C through the weekend, Environment Canada's forecast said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 3, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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