What to do in a heat wave

A heat wave is a period of very hot weather that lasts for two or more days. To be called a heat wave, the temperatures must be above the historical averages for an area.

Staying in the heat for a long time can be dangerous. It can cause heat-related illnesses like heat stroke.

What to do in a heat wave:

  • Drink lots of water – before you are thirsty.
  • Slow down. Try to limit your activities.
  • Find places to cool down, such as malls, libraries and community centres.
  • Wear a hat or use an umbrella when outdoors.
  • Wear light and loose-fitting clothes.
  • Stay out of the sun to prevent sunburn.
  • Stay indoors or in shady areas during the hottest part of the day.
  • Do not leave children or pets inside a parked car.
  • Check on older family members, friends and neighbors to make sure they are comfortable and safe.

What are the signs of heat stroke?

  • high body temperature (over 104 F or 40 °C)
  • no sweating
  • hot and dry skin that changes from red to ash or purple
  • may be loss of consciousness
  • rapid breathing and heart rate
  • headache

If someone has a heat stroke, call 9-1-1 right away. Move the person to a cooler place and sponge their body with cool water until help arrives.

Learn more at GetPrepared.

Adapted from Government of Canada

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