For information on today's humidex advisories and local weather forecasts, check Environment Canada's website (link below).
When the temperature rises, be sure to stay cool!
Extreme heat puts some people at risk for heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Know the symptoms of these illnesses and take steps to protect yourself and your family.
It is expected that the number and intensity of extreme heat days will increase as a result of climate change.
Heat-related illnesses occur when your body cannot cool down
The following factors can make it hard for your body to cope with extreme heat and put your health at risk:
- High temperature
- High humidity
- Lack of shade
- Minimal air movement (indoor/outdoor)
Heat-related illnesses range from heat rash and muscle cramps, to more dangerous hot weather emergencies like heat stroke and heat exhaustion.
Heat exhaustion and heat stroke:
Symptoms and treatment
What is it?
Heat exhaustion occurs when the body loses an excessive amount of water and salt found in sweat. It can develop after exposure to high temperatures without enough fluid replacement. It can lead to heat stroke if it is left untreated.
Heat stroke occurs when the body's temperature rises rapidly (to 40°C/104°F or above) and the body is unable to cool down. It can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not provided.
- Nausea or vomiting
- Weak pulse
- Heavy sweating
- Pale skin
- Muscle cramps
- Nausea or vomiting
- Strong pulse
- Red, hot and dry skin (no sweating)
- Loss of consciousness
- Move the person to a cooler location
- Encourage the person to cool down by sponging with cool (not cold) water, taking a shower, bath or swim
- Provide sips of cool water
- Dial 911 - This is a medical emergency!
- While waiting for medical assistance, help the person to cool down by sponging with cool (not cold) water
- Do not give the person any fluids (this may cause the person to vomit or choke)
Who is at risk?
Although extreme heat can affect everyone, some people are more at risk than others for heat-related illnesses, including:
- Infants and children
- People with chronic diseases or medical conditions (heart disease, respiratory conditions, diabetes, etc.)
- People taking certain medications (for high blood pressure, depression, insomnia, etc.)
- People who exercise vigorously or work outdoors
- People who are isolated or have limited mobility
- People who are homeless
- People who are overweight
- People with mental illness, dementias or addictions
Tips to beat the heat
During extreme heat, the most important thing is to keep cool and avoid additional stress on your body.
Here are some important tips:
Plan for the summer heat!
- Check your local weather forecasts for temperature, humidex advisories and UV index or visit Environment Canada for special weather statements
- Check regularly on family, friends or neighbours who are at higher risk of heat-related illnesses or do not have air conditioning
- If you take medication, check with your doctor or pharmacist regarding side effects during extreme heat
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Avoid drinks that contain alcohol or caffeine
- Do not leave people or pets unattended in a car
- Schedule physical outdoor activities in the morning and evening hours when it is cooler
- Reduce activity and rest often in shady areas
- Choose lightweight, light-coloured, loose-fitting clothing
- Wear a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses with UV protection and sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher
- Stay indoors in cool, well-ventilated areas
- Use fans with caution, always keep a window or door open to bring in outside air
- Close blinds and drapes to reduce heat entering your home
- Take a cool shower or bath, or wet your hands, face and the back of your neck
- If the outdoor temperature is cooler at night, open windows to let the cool air in
- If you are not in an air-conditioned environment and unable to stay cool, go to a public building such as a library, community centre, shopping mall or public pool
Visit your local municipality's website for more information on where you can stay cool in your area:
York Region Heat Advisories
York Region issues a heat advisory when Environment Canada issues a humidex advisory for York-Durham. Environment Canada issues humidex advisories when the temperature is expected to reach or exceed 30°C and the humidex is expected to reach or exceed 40. The York Region extreme heat program runs annually from May 15th to September 30th.
||Date heat advisory issued
||Number of days heat advisory was in effect|
Heat Health Brochures (Climate Change & Health) - Health Canada
Extreme Heat Events - Health Canada
Extreme Heat - York Region Emergency Management
Plant Trees, Build Shade; for Your Health and the Environment - York Region's Sun Sense Coalition
Heat Stress (Health and Safety Guidelines) - Ontario Ministry of Labour
Extreme Heat & Your Health brochure
For more information on this or other health-related topics, please call York Region Health Connection at 1-800-361-5653
, TTY 1-866-252-9933.