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 which can include:

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

If you experience any of these symptoms, immediately move to a cool place and drink liquids. Cool water is best, not ice cold liquid.

Heat stroke is a medical emergency. Call 9-1-1 if you have or someone you are with has a high body temperature, along with one or a combination of the following: confused, unconscious, or has stopped sweating. While you are waiting for help, cool the person right away by moving them to a cool or shady place, remove excess clothing, and/or applying cool 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
  • 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 exercise (e.g. run, walk, bike) during the cooler parts of the day (morning or evening)
  • Avoid intense or moderately intense physical activity
  • 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, text or video chat at-risk family, friends or neighbours (especially older adults living alone) to make sure they are drinking plenty of fluids and keeping cool
  • If you sleep outside during the day, try to sleep in the shade. Remember the shade moves, so try to sleep in a spot that will be shady for a few hours.

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 involve the use of an oven, especially if you don’t have air conditioning
  • Unplug electronics and turn off lights when not in use
  • Talk to your landlord about providing a cool common area for residents without air conditioning
  • Check for the nearest cool space:
    • By visiting 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
  • Use fans properly:
    • Use your fan in or next to a window. Box fans are best.
    • Use a fan to bring in the cooler air from outside.
    • Use your fan by plugging it directly into the wall outlet. If you need an extension cord, it should be CSA (Canadian Standards Association) approved.
    • Don’t use a fan in a closed room without windows or doors open to the outside.
    • Don’t believe that fans cool air. They don’t. They just move the air around. Fans keep you cool by evaporating sweat.
    • Don’t use a fan to blow extremely hot air on yourself. This can cause heat exhaustion to happen faster.
      If you’re afraid to open your window to use a fan, choose other ways to keep cool. See the other tips on this page.
    • 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.

If your child gets locked inside a car, or you witness a child left in a hot car, call 9-1-1 immediately.

The temperature inside a car can heat up quickly, creating an environment that can cause harm or even death.

During the summer, as the outside air temperature increases, temperatures inside a vehicle can reach dangerously high levels. Opening the car window slightly or parking in the shade does not keep the temperature at a safe level.

Why parked cars are dangerous:

Young children, especially infants, are much more sensitive to heat than adults. Rising temperatures inside a car can produce significant heat stress on children causing severe dehydration, heat exhaustion or heat stroke that may result in serious illness or death.

What parents and caregivers need to know:

  • Never leave your child in an unattended car, even with the windows open.
  • Teach children not to play in, on, or around cars.
  • Always lock car doors and trunks when parked in the driveway or near your home so that children do not play in them and become trapped.
  • Check to make sure that all children leave the vehicle when you arrive at your destination. Don’t overlook sleeping infants and young children.
  • Check the temperature of your child’s safety seat surface and safety belt buckles before restraining children in the car. Your child’s skin can be severely burned if it touches car seat surfaces that are dangerously hot.
  • Keep car keys out of reach and sight of children.

Watch for symptoms of heat related illnesses:

  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Headache
  • Rapid breathing and heartbeat
  • Extreme thirst

If your child experiences any of these symptoms move them to a cool place and offer water. If the symptoms continue, call 911 immediately.

During Heat Warnings, call, text or video chat with family, friends and neighbours, especially isolated older adults who are living alone.

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

If your pet is accidentally locked in your car, or you see a pet locked in a car, call 9-1-1. If you see a pet in distress due to the heat, call 311.

Pets are at the greatest risk of injury and heat-related health problems during the summer months. Follow these tips to keep your pet safe and cool:

Provide plenty of fresh water

Keep pets hydrated during hot weather by ensuring they always have access to fresh water, whether at home or on daily walks and outings.

Watch out for sunburn

Short-haired pets and those with pink skin or white hair are most likely to burn. Water, sand and rocks at the beach reflect sunlight – putting your pet at increased risk. To prevent sunburn, control your pet’s exposure to the sun by limiting the amount of time outdoors and providing shade.

Find a cool place

  •  Use a fan or air-conditioning to keep your home cool.
  • Provide shade outdoors.
  • A gentle sprinkle from a garden hose is helpful to keep your pets cool.
  • Never leave a pet unattended in hot weather on balconies or in unsheltered backyards.

Watch how much pets eat and exercise

  • Overeating during hot weather can lead to overheating, so let your pets eat less.
  • Reschedule or plan outdoor activities during the cooler parts of the day.

Never leave your pet in a parked car

During the summer, as the outside air temperature increases, temperatures inside of a vehicle can reach dangerously high levels. This is extremely dangerous to pets and puts them at risk of heat-related illnesses that can quickly lead to death. Slightly opening windows or parking in the shade does not prevent temperatures from rising to dangerous levels.

In hot weather, it’s kinder and safer for pets to stay at home. If you have to take a pet with you, carry a spare key to help avoid accidentally trapping your pet in the locked vehicle.

Watch for signs of heat stroke:

  • rapid panting
  • lots of drooling
  • hot skin
  • twitching muscles
  • vomiting
  • a dazed look

Heat stroke is a serious medical condition that requires immediate intervention. Untreated, it can lead to death. Act quickly to cool down your pet by moving your pet to a shaded area, pouring cool water over your pet and contacting a veterinarian immediately.

Educational posters, bookmark and door hanger are available for download.