Summer’s Here – Tips for Dealing with Heat

During extremely hot days, call or visit family, friends and neighbours, especially isolated adults and seniors who are at greater risk of suffering from heat-related illness, to make sure they are okay.

In addition to using air conditioned public places such as shopping malls, local libraries and neighbourhood community centres as places to cool off. Many cities offer cooling centres  during Extreme Heat Alerts for those in need.

People at increased risk for heat related illness include:

  • older adults
  • infants and young children
  • people with chronic illnesses, such as heart or respiratory conditions, people with limited physical mobility and people with certain mental health illnesses
  • people on certain medications
  • people who work or exercise in the heat
  • homeless people and low-income earners

How to prevent heat related illness:

  • Drink lots of cool water even before you feel thirsty.
  • Go to an air conditioned place such as a shopping mall, library or community centre.
  • Wear loose light coloured breathable clothing and when outdoors wear a wide-brimmed hat.
  • Avoid the sun and stay in the shade or use an umbrella.
  • Reschedule or plan outdoor activities during the cooler parts of the day.
  • Take cool showers or baths or use cool wet towels to cool down.
  • Keep blinds or drapes closed to block out the sun during the day.
  • Make meals that don’t use an oven, especially if you don’t have air conditioning.
  • Use a fan next to your window, to bring cooler air in from outside.
  • Never leave a person or pet inside a parked car or in the direct sunlight.
  • Consult with your doctor or pharmacist on medications that increase your risk to heat.
  • Call or visit at-risk family, friends or neighbours, especially seniors living alone to make sure they are drinking plenty of fluids and keeping cool.

Watch for symptoms of heat related illnesses, which include:

  • dizziness or fainting
  • nausea or vomiting
  • headache
  • rapid breathing and heartbeat
  • extreme thirst

If you experience these symptoms move to a cool place and drink water. If the symptoms continue, see your doctor.

Heat Stroke is a medical emergency so if a person has a high body temperature and is either confused, has stopped sweating or is unconscious, call 911. While waiting for emergency services to arrive, help the person by doing this:

  • Move the person to a cooler location, if you can.
  • Apply cold water to large area of skin or clothing.
  • Fan the person.

(Source: Toronto Public Health)