Friday, August 3, 2007

Yup, it was a hot day yesterday

It was hot in Montreal yesterday. Very hot, with a high of 35 degrees Celsius (95 Fahrenheit) and with the humidity factor, a temperature that felt like in the 40s (over 104 F).

Environment Canada has this Humidex chart that gives you an idea of how the temperatures feel according to the humidity in the air.

We don’t have air conditioning in our house. It’s a 45-year-old home that has hot water heating, so to put in central air would be expensive. We’d have to go with the ductless type. Window units drive me crazy with their noise, but we do have one in our bedroom we use on the really hot nights. I’m lucky in that I don’t often feel the heat, but I do feel the humidity. Oddly enough, it shows when it’s humid because I can’t laugh. My asthma is affected by the humidity and if I laugh, I have to take a deep breath and I can’t. So, I end up coughing away for hours all because I laughed. I know, I said it was odd. :-)

We’re young though, we’re healthy, so the heat is really more annoying than anything else. But I worry for those who aren’t young and aren’t healthy. The elderly who live in top floor apartments or flats so not only does the heat rise, but they have the sun beating down on them. Those with limited resources can’t afford to air condition their homes. Our city does declare an emergency when we hit a certain temperature for three days in a row, so that is some consolation. When that happens, they open shelters and air conditioned areas for those who need the help.

We know the drill of how to stay safe in excessively hot weather: drink plenty of fluids, stay inside as much as possible, don’t do anything strenuous if you can avoid it, and so on. But there are still a lot of people who don’t take it seriously enough and do develop heatstroke, or hyperthermia.

How serious is heat stroke? According to the Centers for Disease Control in the United States, during the period between and including 1999 to 2003, there were 3442 deaths related to heat. Of these 3442, 65% (2239) were directly caused by the heat. Heat was considered a contributing factor to the remaining number of deaths. Some of these deaths make the news, like when it’s a student athlete: Heat-related deaths in middle, high school football players spikes in 2006.

The Red Cross has this very informative page about heat-related illnesses. They discuss the prevention, the different stages, and emergency interventions for people who are affected.

Oh, and one more thing – watch out for Fido. Dogs feel the heat too. Don’t let them overexert themselves in the heat. Walks should be kept to a minimum and don’t forget that the pavement is burning hot on those paw pads. And please, please, please, don’t leave your pooch in the car, even with the windows cracked. It’s like leaving him in an oven.

News for Today:

Screening improves detection of major stroke risk factor
Ontario to provide teenage girls with HPV vaccine

Alberta gets first human case of West Nile
Breastfeeding moms quitting too soon, officials say
Many heart attack patients still not getting emergency clot-busting treatment
Heat-related deaths in middle, high school football players spikes in 2006


Crabby McSlacker said...

Wow, great info!

Crabs fear heat and humidity and are much happier in cool coastal areas.

Terrie Farley Moran said...

Hi Marijke,

It's in the 90's here in New York as well. Just to let you know that on women of mystery I have a post called Sorry No Printing Please (or something like that, how soon I forget.) and I give you full credit for letting us know about the laser printer/air quality issue.


Marijke Vroomen-Durning said...

Crabby, does heat just make crabs crabbier? By the way, not that I'm cannabilistic in any way, but I just had the most delicious crab cake for dinner....

I'm delighted that the information I post is being helpful. That's really nice to know.