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Staying cool in a heat wave

July 31, 2017

Heat wave alert!  It’s hard to believe following such a cold winter and a soggy spring. Environment Canada has issued special weather statement warning of a heat wave covering Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, and inland Vancouver Island.  

Most of us will be out there enjoying the heat, but with extremely high temperatures comes increased likelihood of heat-related illnesses.

Everyone is at risk, however those most vulnerable to high temperatures include young children, pregnant women, the elderly, those working or exercising in the heat, persons with chronic illnesses, people living alone in un-airconditioned homes, and the homeless.

The province’s Seniors Advocate, Isobel Mackenzie, is urging friends and families of seniors to keep an eye out for their loved ones during the heat wave.

Tips for beating the heat

  • Drink lots of water to avoid dehydration. Waiting until you are thirsty to drink puts you at risk.  Make sure you and your family members (including pets) have access to water throughout the day. 
  • Seek out cool places to visit.  Make use of local splash parks, pools, and air-conditioned buildings.
  • Get out early. If you’re a runner or walker, get outside in the early part of the day, when it’s a bit cooler. If you can, avoid rigorous outdoor activity in the middle of day.
  • Watch for early signs of trouble. Watch for symptoms of heat-related illness including: dizziness, headache, flushed skin, dry mouth and/or nausea.  Signals for heat stroke include confusion and perhaps unconsciousness. 

If you need more information about heat-related illnesses, call HealthLinkBC at 811. If you are concerned about possible heat stroke or another serious reaction to the heat, we suggest you call your family doctor or nearest emergency center right away.