The combination of high heat, high humidity and exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can be hazardous to your health. It’s important to prepare for hot weather to help prevent heat-related illness and death.
Older adults, individuals with chronic illness, infants and young children are among those at a higher risk of suffering from heat-related illness.
What can you do to protect yourself and others from extreme heat?
Know the forecast and current conditions
Prepare ahead of time by checking for heat warnings. You can find out when there’s a heat warning by checking or signing up for notifications for:
- Local weather reports
- Warnings from Environment Canada
Check the Air Quality Health Index. Air pollution tends to be at higher levels on during very hot days.
- Understand and follow the health messages for different risk levels
KNOW THE SIGNS OF HEAT-ILLNESS AND CHECK ON OTHERS
Call neighbours, friends and family, especially isolated older adults, to make sure they’re cool and remind them to stay hydrated.
Use the Health checks during extreme heat events guide (available in multiple languages) to know who is at most risk, how to recognize heat-related illness and what to do in risky situations.
- Know and look out for Signs of Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke.
Heat stroke is a medical emergency, call 911 if you are caring for someone who has a high body temperature and is either confused, experiencing dizziness or fainting, or has stopped sweating.
Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of liquids before you feel thirsty. Water is the best choice.
Staying hydrated is critical during periods of high heat. Create ways to remind yourself to drink water. Remind others to stay hydrated.
Wear loose-fitting, light-coloured clothing and a wide-brimmed hat made of breathable fabric.
Apply cold water to skin using a damp or wet towel.
Take cool showers or baths.
- Take breaks from the heat by visiting:
- a pool or splash pad, or
- air-conditioned places like a recreational facility, library, grocery store or mall.
Avoid sun exposure. Tree-shaded areas can be as much as 5°C cooler than the surrounding area.
Visit Health Canada’s How to protect yourself from the health effects of extreme heat for more tips.
KEEP YOUR HOME COOL
At home, close awnings, curtains, and blinds during the day to keep the sun out.
Make meals that do not use the oven
In the evening or at night (if safe), open windows to cool your home.
For more tips on keeping your home cool, visit:
- Three Steps to Cost-Effective Apartment and Condo Heat Protection
- Three Steps to Cost-effective Home Heat Protection
Re-schedule activities to a different day or a time of day that is cooler (morning or evening). Bring water and a hat if you go out.
Avoid strenuous outdoor activities or reschedule for the early morning or evening hours. Stay hydrated.
Never leave people or pets inside a parked vehicle or in direct sunlight.