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Heat can be harmful by pushing the human body beyond its limits. Under normal conditions, the body's internal thermostat causes the body to sweat, which evaporates and cools the body. In extreme heat and high humidity, evaporation is slowed and the body must work harder to maintain a normal core temperature.
Extreme heat or heat waves can be particularly dangerous for children, the elderly, and people who are ill or overweight. A heat wave is defined as three or more days of temperatures of 32°C or more.
During the summer months in Ontario there is the added threat of poor air quality - extreme heat combines with air pollutants from industry, gas-powered vehicles and other sources.
For more information on protecting yourself in extreme heat, follow the link to Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health
Stay indoors as much as possible. If air conditioning is not available, stay on the lowest floor, out of the sun. Use fans to keep cool.
Eat well-balanced, light and regular meals.
Drink plenty of water, even if you do not feel thirsty.
Limit your intake of alcohol and caffeine.
Dress in loose-fitting clothes that cover as much skin as possible.
If your home is not air-conditioned, consider spending the warmest part of the day in air-conditioned public buildings, such as libraries, movie theatres, shopping malls, and other community facilities.
Check on family, friends and neighbours who do not have air conditioning and who spend much of their time alone.
What is a Pandemic? According to the Ontario Health Plan, a "pandemic influenza is a worldwide outbreak of influenza. It happens when a new influenza virus emerges among the people, spreads, and causes diseases worldwide." In the past, some of the most severe influenzas have resulted from the mutation of animal viruses in humans that have then spread from human to human.
With increasing awareness of outbreaks of Avian Influenza occurring in Asia, there has been much more awareness about a possible pandemic. The Ministry of Health and Long Term Care and Wellington Dufferin Guelph Public Health have prepared pandemic plans and information about pandemics. As part of its emergency management programme, staff of the County of Wellington worked with Public Health and other local health organizations in the preparation of a municipal health/pandemic plan.
There are a number of agencies with information on this topic:
Follow link to Wellington Dufferin Guelph Public Health
Follow link to Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care
Follow link to Public Health Agency of Canada
Follow link to Health Canada
Follow link to World Health Organization
Available in several languages:
Maintaining clean hands during a flu outbreak will assist in preventing transmission. "Hand Hygiene" is available in several languages: