How to prepare for the next heatwave

by | Jul 1, 2023 | Health and Wellness

A changing climate can make extreme heat more frequent and intense. In fact, the number of extremely hot days a year in Canada is expected to double in the next 30 years. As heat waves become more frequent, here’s how you can prepare.

Know your risk
High heat and humidity make it harder for our bodies to cool off through sweating. Spending time in hot weather can put anyone at risk for heat illnesses like heat stroke, which can have serious, long-term health effects, or even be deadly.

Most at risk are young kids, older adults and people with breathing issues or existing health conditions, but everyone should take extra care if they’re working or exercising outdoors, or don’t have access to air conditioning.

Get ahead of the heat

  • Follow local weather forecasts and plan for regular check-ins with family, friends and neighbours on hot days to make sure everyone is okay.
  • Get your air conditioner ready before the hot days start or decide on where to go for a break from the heat such as a basement, library or shopping mall.
  • Plan some ideas for meals that don’t require the oven.
  • Think about what breathable, light-coloured clothing you can wear when the temperature climbs.
  • Think about how you will modify activities during extreme heat. You could ask your sports team to plan more water breaks in each game or reschedule midday games for cooler morning and evening timeslots.

Learn the signs of trouble
Early symptoms of heat illnesses can include dizziness, nausea, headache and thirst. Anyone experiencing these symptoms needs to get to a cooler place and drink liquids – water is best.

If severe heat-related illness is suspected – watch for fainting, disorientation, severe nausea, vomiting or having difficulty speaking – call 911 immediately. While waiting for help, try to cool the person right away by moving them to a cool place, removing extra clothing and applying cold water or fanning the person as much as possible.

Find more information at canada.ca/health

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