Extreme heat is a health risk. Heat-related illness includes heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat fainting, heat rash and muscle cramps. Heat related illness is preventable.

Watch for symptoms of heat related illnesses, including:

  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Headache
  • Rapid breathing and heartbeat
  • Extreme thirst
  • Decreased urination with unusually dark yellow urine

If you experience these symptoms or see someone with signs of heat-related illness, immediately move to a cool place and drink liquids.

Heat stroke is a medical emergency. Call 911 if you see someone who is either unconscious, confused or has stopped sweating. While you are waiting for help, cool the person right away by moving them to a cool place or applying cold water to large areas of the skin or clothing.

  • Drink plenty of cool water even before you feel thirsty
  • Go to an air conditioned place such as one of the City’s Heat Relief Network locations
  • 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
  • Never leave a person or pet inside a parked car
  • 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

In summer, apartments can get hotter and stay hotter longer than the air outside. Make a plan to keep your home cool:

  • 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
  • Unplug electronics and turn off lights when not in use
  • Use fans properly:
    • Place fans in or next to a window to bring in the cooler air from outside
    • Do not use fans when the temperature in a room is 34°C or higher as it creates a “convection oven” type of effect. This is especially a concern for older adults and people taking certain medications since their ability to sweat is decreased.
  • Talk to your landlord about providing a cool common area for residents without air conditioning
  • Check for the nearest cool space:
    • On the Heat Relief Network map
    • Landlords must post the location of the nearest cool location (name, address and map to location of a publicly accessible air-conditioned location)
    • Call 311 for information about cool spaces that are open to the public

During heat warnings please call or visit family, friends and neighbours, especially isolated seniors.

Other groups at risk include:

  • people with chronic and pre-existing illnesses
  • infants and young children
  • people on certain medications
  • people who are marginally housed or experiencing homelessness