Symptoms of heat-related illness include rapid breathing, dizziness or fainting, vomiting, rapid heartbeat, extreme thirst, decreased urination and unusually dark yellow urine.
During heat events, remember to check-in with family, friends and neighbours, especially seniors who live on their own. It's best to call or video-conference – if that is not possible, practice physical distancing.
Many of the locations that normally provide relief from heat, such as shopping malls and community centres are not open due to COVID-19.
If you experience any of the mentioned symptoms, cool off as soon as possible by taking a cool bath or shower, move to a shaded area, drink some water and rest. If the symptoms persist, contact your doctor or call 911.
Peel Health recommends the following steps to be taken to prevent heat related illness:
Stay cool and if at all possible, stay in an air-conditioned place. If your home does not have air conditioning, go to the shopping mall, library, recreational facilities or heat-relief shelters.
Electric fans should be used with caution. Use only if they bring in cool air from outside. Do not use if they only circulate hot air. Instead take cool showers or baths.
When outdoors, stay in the shade whenever possible (natural or artificial structures).
When in the sun, cover up. Wear a wide brimmed hat, UV protective sunglasses, and loose-fitting long shirts and pants.
Stay well hydrated. Plain water is the liquid of choice, diluted fruit juice is okay. Drink less caffeinated and alcoholic beverages on hot days.
Check regularly on children, the elderly, and persons with disabilities or with chronic illnesses; be sure they are well hydrated.
Be aware of signs and symptoms of heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. Follow first aid procedures promptly.
Apply sunscreen (SPF 15 or higher), 20-30 minutes before going outside to ensure absorption.
When using DEET insect repellent, apply 20-30 minutes after sunscreen has been applied.
Sunscreens/insect repellents are not recommended for infants under six months of age. Keep babies under one year of age out of direct sunlight.
NEVER leave anyone (including pets) in a closed, parked vehicle.
During a Heat Warning
Check on your neighbour
Follow the General Guidelines AND
Go outdoors only in the coolest part of the day, and if at all possible, stay in an air-conditioned place. If your home does not have air conditioning, go to the shopping mall, library, recreational facilities or other cool location. Limit exercise outdoors.
Especially limit time outdoors:
During the hottest part of the day, and
When UV radiation is most intense, between 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Drink lots of liquids. Plain water is the liquid of choice, diluted fruit juice is okay. Drink less caffeinated and alcoholic beverages on hot days.
Check regularly on children, elderly, persons with disabilities and individuals with chronic illnesses; be sure they are well hydrated (plain water is the liquid of choice). Drink less caffeinated and alcoholic beverages on hot days.
During an Extended Heat Warning
Check on your neighbour/call or visit
Follow Heat Alert Guidelines AND
VISIT OR CALL your neighbours, especially the elderly, persons with disabilities, and individuals with chronic illnesses or on medications.
During extreme temperature conditions, stay in a cool place and if at all possible, stay in an air-conditioned place. If your home does not have air conditioning, go to the shopping mall, library, recreational facilities or heat-relief shelters.
Do not do strenuous activity outdoors.
Heat Illness Signs and Treatment
Sunburn: redness, pain, swelling of skin, blisters, fever and headaches.
leave water blisters intact to speed healing and avoid infection. If breaking of blister occurs, apply dry sterile dressing. Serious cases should be seen by a physician.
Heat Cramps: heavy sweating can cause painful muscle spasms usually in the legs but possible in the abdomen
apply firm pressure on cramping muscles or gently massage to relieve spasm; give sips of water, if nausea occurs discontinue sips of water, move person to a cooler place to rest in a comfortable position. Observe the person carefully for changes in condition.
Heat Exhaustion: heavy sweating, weakness, cold, pale and clammy skin; weak pulse, fainting and vomiting, core temperature usually 38.8 Celsius or higher, but normal temperature is possible.
get person out of sun, move person to a cooler environment, lay person down and loosen clothing, apply cool wet cloths, give sips of water. If nausea occurs, discontinue sips of water; if vomiting continues, seek immediate medical attention.
Heatstroke: severe medical emergency, high body temperature (41 degrees Celsius or higher), hot, dry skin, rapid and strong pulse, possible unconsciousness
Call 911, if unable to get person to medical help immediately, do the following:
Move person to a cooler environment
Remove outer clothing
Reduce body temperature using lukewarm (not cold) water to bathe/sponge the person