Posted: June 20, 2016

Heat-related deaths and illness are preventable and anyone can suffer heat-related illness when their bodies can't compensate and properly cool. 

It’s important to be aware risk factors and what actions can be taken to prevent a heat-related illness or death.

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Are you at risk?

During a heat wave, everyone is at risk, but some groups are more vulnerable than others. They include:

  • Infants (under 1 year)  and people 65 years of age or older;
  • People with chronic medical conditions (heart disease, respiratory conditions, diabetes, etc);
  • People on certain types of medications (for high blood pressure, depression, insomnia, etc);
  • 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); and
  • People who work in places where heat is emitted through industrial processes (e.g., foundries, bakeries, kitchens).
GRH's emergency department entrance
Protect yourself to avoid an emergency visit on a summer day
Things you can do to protect yourself
  • Be aware and check the weather forecast to be prepared and plan accordingly;
  • 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/or 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; and
  • If you do need to be outdoors try to plan your activities in early morning or early evening when the temperatures are often cooler.

References: (opens in a new window)