Bright summer days bring hot and humid temperatures, so we encourage everyone to take precautions.
Heat Illnesses are preventable
Wear sunscreen and appropriate clothing.
Take a break from the heat by spending a few hours in a cool place. It could be a tree-shaded area, swimming facility or an air conditioned spot such as a public building, shopping mall, grocery store, place of worship or public library. Schedule your outdoor activities carefully and try to keep them limited to early mornings and evening hours when it is cooler.
Drink plenty of cool fluids, especially water, before you feel thirsty to decrease your risk of dehydration. Thirst is not a good indicator of dehydration. Stay away from sugar and alcohol drinks–these cause you to lose more body fluid.
Frequently visit neighbours, friends, and older family members, especially those who are chronically ill, to ensure they are cool and hydrated. Infants, young children and other high-risk individuals need frequent watching.
Keep your pets hydrated and in a shady area.
**** HEALTH Canada Release
Step 1 – Prepare for the heat
Tune in regularly to local weather forecasts and alerts so you know when to take extra care.
Arrange for regular visits by family members, neighbours or friends during very hot days in case you need help. Visitors can help identify signs of heat illness that could be missed over the phone.
Find ways to keep cool before the hot weather starts. If you have an air conditioner, make sure it works properly. If you have ceiling fans or other fans they can help as long as the humidity isn’t high. Find an air-conditioned spot close by where you can cool off for a few hours on very hot days. This will help you cope with the heat.
Have cool drinks in your vehicle and keep your gas tank topped up.
Step 2 – Pay close attention to how you – and those around you – feel
Heat stroke is a medical emergency!
Call 911 or your local emergency number immediately if you are caring for someone who has a high body temperature and is either unconscious, confused or has stopped sweating.
Watch for symptoms of heat illness, which include:
dizziness or fainting
nausea or vomiting
rapid breathing and heartbeat
extreme thirst (dry mouth or sticky saliva)
decreased urination with unusually dark yellow urine
changes of behaviour in children (like sleepiness or temper tantrums)
If you have any of these symptoms during extreme heat, move to a cool place and drink liquids right away. Water is best.
While waiting for help – cool the person right away by:
moving them to a cool place, if you can
applying cold water to large areas of their skin or clothing
fanning the person as much as possible
Step 3 – Stay hydrated
Drink plenty of cool liquids (especially water) before you feel thirsty to decrease your risk of dehydration (not having enough fluids in your body). Thirst is not a good indicator of dehydration.
Remind yourself to drink water by leaving a glass by the sink.
Flavouring water with natural fruit juice may make it more appealing.
Eat more fruits and vegetables as they have a high water content.
If you eat less, you may need to drink more water.
Drink water before, during and after physical activity.
Step 4 – Stay cool
Did you know?
Your body is not used to (not acclimatized to) extreme heat at the beginning of the summer. If you are physically active, you are also not acclimatized if you don’t exercise regularly during hot weather.
Dress for the weather
Wear loose-fitting, light-coloured clothing and a wide-brimmed hat made of breathable fabric.
When you buy sunglasses, make sure they provide protection against both UVA and UVB rays.
Take a breakfrom the heat
If you must do physical activity in extreme heat, take extra breaks, remove gear to let your body cool off and drink lots of water. Don’t expect your usual performance in hot weather. Give your body time to recover after being in the heat.
Keep your home cool
Make meals that don’t need to be cooked in an oven.
Block the sun by closing awnings, curtains or blinds during the day.
If safe, open your windows at night to let cooler air into your home.
If you have an air conditioner with a thermostat, keep it set to the highest setting that is comfortable (somewhere between 22ºC/72ºF and 26ºC/79ºF). This will reduce your energy costs and provide you with needed relief. If you are using a window air conditioner, cool only one room where you can go for heat relief.
If your home is extremely hot
Take cool showers or baths until you feel refreshed.
Use a fan to help you stay cool and aim the air flow in your direction.
Spend a few hours in a cool place. It could be a tree-shaded area, swimming facility or an air-conditioned spot like a shopping mall, grocery store, or public library.
Step 5 – Avoid exposure to extreme heat when outdoors
Did you know?
Sunburned skin loses its sweating efficiency. This makes it harder for your body to regulate its temperature.
Never leave people or pets inside a parked vehicle or in direct sunlight.
When the outside air temperature is 23ºC/73ºF, the temperature inside a vehicle can be extremely dangerous – more than 50ºC/122ºF.
Reschedule or plan outdoor activities during cooler parts of the day.