The NWHU monitors temperatures throughout the summer and will issue a heat alert if the weather is greater than 29oC, or if the humidex is greater than 36 for two or more consecutive days. Please visit the Health Canada website on more information on what to do during an extreme heat event.
People at increased risk of heat-related illness
Everyone is at risk of heat illnesses from extreme heat or humidity, but the risk is greater for:
· Older adults and seniors
· Infants and children
· People with chronic illnesses, such as breathing difficulties,
asthma, heart conditions, or psychiatric illnesses
· People who work in the heat
· People who exercise in the heat
· People who take certain medications (check with doctor)
· People who are homeless
· People who live alone
How to avoid heat-related illness
You can avoid heat-related illnesses this summer by:
· Checking the Environment Canada weather forecast for the
region before going outside.
· Planning ahead to reorganize activities (i.e. sporting events,
recess) if it is too hot.
· Drinking cool liquids, especially water, before you feel thirsty
to decrease your risk of dehydration. Avoid drinks that are
high in sugar, caffeine, or alcohol as they can increase the
amount of water lost by your body.
· Seeking shade and avoiding sun exposure. Wear a broad-
spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher, wear clothing that
covers your skin, and using an umbrella for shade.
· Wearing loose-fitting, light coloured clothing made of
· Taking a break from the heat by going to a cooler place.
Spend a few hours in an air conditioned building, public pool,
or taking a swim in the lake.
· Taking cool showers or baths until you feel refreshed.
· Blocking out the sun from your house by closing curtains or
blinds during the day.
· Avoiding doing a lot of exercise or hard work.
· Preparing meals that do not need to be cooked in your oven.
· Never leaving people or pets in your care inside a parked car
or in direct sunlight.
· Visiting or checking on neighbours, friends or family members
who might be at greater risk, to make sure they are cool and
· Checking with doctor or pharmacist if any of the medications
you are taking increase health risk in heat or sun.
Heat related illnesses
Heat related illnesses include dehydration, heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps (muscle cramps), heat edema (swelling of hands, feet, and ankles), and heat rash.
Signs and symptoms of heat illness include:
· Nausea or vomiting
· Extreme thirst
· Decreased urination with dark yellow urine
· Rapid breathing and heartbeat
If someone is showing signs of a heat-related illness, you can help them by:
· Calling for medical help
· Removing excess clothing from the person
· Applying cold water to large areas of skin or clothing
· Moving them to a cooler, shaded location
· Giving them sips of cool water (not ice water)
· Fanning the person if possible
Any heat-related illness is a medical emergency.
Call 911 immediately if you are caring for someone who has been exposed to heat or humidity and is showing any of the above signs and symptoms.
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