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July 6, 2010
Extreme hot weather poses health risk
Three days of extreme hot weather is having a significant health impact on people who are vulnerable. With an Extreme Heat Alert forecast for at least the next two days and possibly more, Torontos Medical Officer of Health is joining with Emergency Medical Services to ask the public and landlords to check on elderly or isolated tenants and neighbours.

"We know that prolonged extreme heat conditions can be fatal for people with chronic health conditions and for seniors," said Dr. David McKeown. "If you own or operate a rooming house or apartment building, it is your civic duty to check on residents who are vulnerable, especially if they do not have air conditioning. As these conditions continue without relief, early interventions will save lives."

Extreme heat is also a health risk to infants and people taking certain medications such as for mental health and heart conditions or blood pressure. These medicines may affect patients ability to cope with extreme heat.

Symptoms of heat-related illness include weakness, dizziness, and headache. If you become faint, have difficulty breathing or feel confused and disoriented, call your doctor or go to your nearest hospital right away. In an emergency, call 911.

The City has opened eight cooling centres for the duration of the Extreme Heat Alert. Even a short period in a cool place can have a significant impact on reducing heat-related illness. All of the cooling centres provide water and snacks, and have staff on hand with first aid training. Pets are also welcome.
Metro Hall, 55 John Street, 24 hours
East York Civic Centre, 850 Coxwell Avenue, 11 a.m. - 7 p.m.
North York Civic Centre, 5100 Yonge Street, 11 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Etobicoke Olympium, 590 Rathburn Road, 11 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Centennial Recreation Centre, 1967 Ellesmere Road, 11 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Driftwood Community Centre, 4401 Jane Street, 11 a.m. - 7 p.m.
McGregor Community Centre, 2231 Lawrence Ave E, 11 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Castleview Wychwood Towers*, 351 Christie Street, 8 a.m. - 8 p.m.
* especially for elderly and/or people with disabilities

Tips for reducing the risk of heat-related illness include: drink lots of water and fruit juices (even if you don't feel thirsty), wear loose fitting, light clothing; and avoid intense or moderately intense physical activity.
Never leave a child, vulnerable person, or pet in a parked car. Heat inside a car increases quickly, and can be fatal.

Toronto is Canada's largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America. Toronto has won numerous awards for quality, innovation and efficiency in delivering public services. Toronto's government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents. For information about non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can dial 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Media contacts:

Susan Sperling,
Toronto Public Health,

Kim McKinnon,
Emergency Medical Services,

Elaine Smyer,
Shelter, Support & Housing Administration,



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