Tips: How to Prepare for Heat Waves

Lisa C. Community, Daily Life, Newcomer Information

Canada is known to have harsh winters, but extreme heat events, often called “heat waves”, also exist in many places across the country. So, yes, it can get really hot in summer, like this weekend (June 25, 26 & 27, 2021).

According to the Weather Network, Western Canada will see a historic heat wave in the coming days.

Extreme heat can put your health at risk, causing heat illnesses, including:

  • heat edema (swelling of hands, feet, and ankles)
  • heat rash
  • heat cramps (muscle cramps)
  • heat fainting
  • heat exhaustion
  • heat stroke

Health risks are greater for older adults, infants and young children, people with chronic illnesses, people who work or exercise (e.g., jogging, hiking, or biking) in the heat, etc.

Not only is it considered a threat to public health, but extreme heat waves can also become a contributing factor for human-caused wildfires.

It is important to take steps to protect yourself and your family.

How to prepare for the heat
  • Pay attention to weather forecasts and heat wave alerts.
  • Take out and set up your electric fan.
  • Make sure your air conditioner works properly.
  • Pack cold drinks with you if you plan to drive for long hours.
If you have any of these heat illness symptoms during extreme heat, move to a cool place and drink water right away:
  • dizziness or fainting
  • nausea or vomiting
  • headache
  • rapid breathing and heartbeat
  • extreme thirst (dry mouth or sticky saliva)
  • decreased urination with unusually dark yellow urine
  • changes of behavior in children (like sleepiness or temper tantrums)
Other tips to help you stay cool:
  • Dress for the weather and wear sunglasses that have UVA an UVB protections
  • Drink lots of water and remember to take a break from the heat. If you don’t exercise regularly during hot weather, your body is not acclimatized.
  • Avoid cooking or baking in an oven —  it will just make your kitchen hotter!
  • If your home is extremely hot and you do not have an air conditioner, take cool showers, use a fan, go swimming or spend time in another air-conditioned spot (library, shopping mall, etc.)

Word of the Day:

Acclimatized to…: adjusted to…, used to…

More information: https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/sun-safety/extreme-heat-heat-waves.html

Reference: The Weather Network – Record-shattering heat set to engulf Western Canada, threaten public health