Staying safe during a heat wave is a community’s responsibility. Be sure to check on your family, friends and neighbours whose health may be at risk during a heat event.
For information about local programs and facilities to help you stay cool, check with your local municipality or call our Health Line at 519-271-7600 or toll-free at 1-877-271-7348 extension 267.
Things You Can Do to Protect Yourself
- Sign up to receive Heat Alerts from the Government of Canada.
- Check the Weather Network for information regarding weather and humidex reports.
- Wear light, loose fitting clothes.
- Drink plenty of water or natural fruit juices.
- Avoid beverages such as alcohol, coffee, tea or cola.
- Eat light, cool foods, and try to avoid using the oven or other hot appliances.
- Stay in air conditioned rooms, either at home, at a friend’s place, or in public spaces such as malls, libraries, community centres or specially designated facilities.
- If you do not have air conditioning at home, open windows slightly but keep blinds closed during the day on the sunny side of your home.
- Keep indoor lights low or turned off.
- Take cool baths or showers periodically to cool down.
- If outdoors, stay in the shade and avoid strenuous physical activities. Wear sun block and a hat.
- Check up on friends, family and neighbours regularly who may be at high risk during a heat event.
- Do not leave people or pets in parked vehicles as they can get very hot!
- Check the Ministry of the Environment for information regarding smog alerts.
Are You at Risk?
During a heat wave, everyone is at risk, but some groups are more vulnerable than others. They include:
- infants and young children
- older adults
- people with chronic medical conditions (such as heart disease, respiratory conditions, diabetes, et cetera) or mental illnesses (such as depression or dementia)
- people on certain types of medications (for high blood pressure, depression, insomnia, et cetera)
- homeless people
- people with limited mobility
- people who exercise vigorously outdoors (play sports, cyclists, gardeners)
- outdoor workers (depending upon length or time and exertion levels)
- people who work in places where heat is emitted through industrial processes (such as foundries, bakeries, dry cleaners). Please see the Ministry of Labour’s Website for further advice.
Health Risks of Extreme Heat: Know When to Get Help
Adverse health effects can occur as a direct result of exposure to excessive heat:
- Heat cramps – symptoms and signs include painful muscular cramps, usually in the legs or abdomen
- Heat exhaustion – symptoms and signs include heavy sweating, weakness, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and fainting.
- Heat stroke – symptoms and signs include headache, dizziness, confusion or other altered mental state, fainting. Skin may be hot and dry, or the individual may be sweating due to high body temperature. This is a medical emergency that can prove fatal!
Increases in other health problems can also be seen, especially for those with other chronic medical conditions such as heart conditions.
Consult a healthcare provider or call Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000 or 1-877-797-0007 if you experience any of the above symptoms.
- Government of Canada – It’s way too hot! Protect yourself from extreme heat
- Government of Canada – Keep children cool! Protect your child from extreme heat
- Government of Canada – You’re active in the heat. You’re at risk! Protect yourself from extreme heat
- Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care – Extreme Heat