The unseasonably high temperatures inflicted on Nova Scotians over the last few days prompted the province’s chief public health officer to issue a warning about heat-related health issues.
Dr. Robert Strang told reporters yesterday that once the humidex — the combined heat and humidity rating — hits 40 C, hospitals tend to see more heat-related complications such as heat stroke and dehydration.
Some basic prevention tips — including staying in cooler areas when possible, drinking liquids and avoiding strenuous behaviour — are “common sense,” he said.
Yesterday’s heat broke a record in Halifax for the third consecutive day, hitting 34 C. With humidity, it felt like 42 C.
He said while the high 30s may cause discomfort, temperatures less than 40 C don’t typically cause serious health concerns.
“It really is about 40 that you start to see some impact,” he said
He added that 45 C is the point at which the heat becomes a very serious issue.
He wasn’t aware, however, of any increases in hospitalization due to the heat.
“We don’t have a robust system for tracking that,” he said.
“Typically, we know that if there’s long periods of excessive heat … you do get excessive hospitalizations and even deaths.
“But there’s nothing to indicate we’re seeing that in Nova Scotia.”
The latest victim of the unseasonably high temperatures is the Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History, which was forced to shut its doors yesterday. According to the Department of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, the museum does not have a ventilation system that can cope with the temperatures. The museum is expected to open its doors again today.