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. Water is best.

Heat stroke is a medical emergency. Heat stroke is a medical emergency. Call 911 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, and/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
  • 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
  • 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

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
  • 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:
    • 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

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