It’s a hot one in Belleville with a high of 33 C. Environment Canada has issued a weather warning for Belleville, Quinte West and Eastern Northumberland County. Follow QNet News reporter Ashliegh Gehl as she blogs on the impact a spike in the humidex is having on the Quinte region.
Health Unit advises residents to avoid hard physical activity
Heat is a hot topic in Belleville today, and with good reason. Sitting at 33C at 3p.m., we’re seven degrees above the 26C monthly average.
The highest temperature recorded for this date was in 1955 when it hit 33.9C, says Environment Canada. And the record low was a shocking 8.9C in 1936.
Carol Snell, media consultant for The Hastings & Prince Edward Counties Health Unit, said people need to take care when planning to go outside.
“When the temperature and the humidex is high, the biggest concern is that people need to stay cool,” said Snell. “And that means if you can avoid being outside in the hottest time of the day and you have a cool place to be, it’s smart to stay out of the hot sun.”
Snell advises people to seek shade, avoid hard physical activity and to drink plenty of water and fruit juice.
“Children are even more susceptible to heat,” said Snell. “They have thinner skin and they tend to burn very quickly, so it’s important to keep your children out of the hot sun.”
Even the elderly need to be cautious.
“It’s also older people who are vulnerable to the heat more so than younger people,” she said. “They need to drink lots of fluids. If there’s an older person that you know that’s on their own, or someone with limited mobility, it’s a good idea to check up on those people.”
Pets need twice as much water day today
Setting up fans for pets is just as important as it is for humans, says the Quinte Humane Society.
Amy Collins, kennel attendant at the humane society, said make sure dogs and cats get the hydration and cooling they need.
“Just like people, animals need to be kept cool,” said Collins. “Provide adequate shelter and water. If they’re in an apartment that doesn’t have air conditioning, setting up fans for pets is just as important as it is for a human.”
Pets don’t sweat, said Collins.
“They go through water quite quickly. A day like today versus a cooler day, the water consumption almost doubles.”
Even though there’s plenty of water running through the Quinte region, stray animals have a hard time finding adequate water.
“If people have a concern and they don’t want to bring it to a shelter, just put out water. An animal will forage for shade but being as dry as it has been the last month, it’s harder for them to find water.”
Collins advises pool owners to keep an eye out for thirsty strays.
“If you have pools, a cat will try to drink out of a pool. If you notice a stray around, put a dish down on the ground.”
Right now the humane society is receiving a lot of heat complaints about people leaving animals in vehicles.
“And unfortunately if our agents can’t get out there, the biggest thing is, if you notice somebody’s animal in a vehicle, if you can’t find our number, call the police,” said Collins. “They have just as much right to get an animal out of a vehicle as our agents do.”
It’s cool at the Quinte Mall
People go to the mall to cool off.
On days when the temperature rises above normal and the humidex is high, a trip to an air-conditioned mall may offer relief.
“When the humidity is as high as it is today people know they can come to the mall and take refuge from the heat and the sun,” said Martha Farrell, Quinte Mall marketing director in Belleville.
“We all certainly love to be outside enjoying it and it’s been a fantastic summer thus far, but sometimes it get a bit too hot. We certainly are pleased that people like to come into the mall when it does get this hot. It’s nice and cool.”
Hot days mean more phone calls for heating and cooling businesses
As the heat increases so does the number phone calls Trenton’s 21 Degree’s One Hour receives.
Beckie Cole, lead coordinator at 21 Degrees, sets up appointments for people who are looking for new heating and cooling equipment. By 11:30 a.m., Cole had booked six new appointments.
On hot days, the phone is ringing non-stop.
“And people are cranky,” said Cole.
It’s not just cranky people who are calling.
“There’s a lot of people who don’t have air conditioning who have decided that now they want it,” said Cole.
The most common complaint Cole receives is that the clients’ air conditioning system isn’t cooling to a comfortable degree.
“When it’s this hot, it won’t,” said Cole. “They’re calling because they set it to 19 and it won’t cool the home down to 19. And that’s because it’s too hot. It can’t.”
Cole said they tell their clients it’s normal because it’s so hot.
VON educates clients on heat as part of their care
When the temperature rises, VON nurses change their game plan.
VON nurse Tanya Frobell, 41, has been a nurse for 18 years. She says nurses assess the home environment to make sure the patients are not suffering from the heat.
“What we do different with our patients is, when the nurses go in, they look at their environment. Basically to see if they have the heat on or are they dressed too warm,” said Frobell.
Frobell says on a day like today, VON can visit anywhere from 200 to 500 homes.
The nurses also make sure clients have adequate hydration and that they’re hydrated. Educating clients on the dangers of heat is also factored into the visit.
“We really educate the clients on heat stroke and heat exhaustion,” she said.
Heat exhaustion and dehydration can be common on days where the temperature is above normal.
“Especially with clients that live in apartment buildings that are higher up and don’t have air conditioning, areas where it’s very stifling,” said Frobell. “The frail elderly, they’re the ones that are at risk. They may not drink enough fluid.”
VON makes sure its volunteers are well educated on the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion, dehydration and heat stroke, said Frobell.