How to beat the heat
Heat and humidity can be very dangerous.
Be a good neighbour — on extremely hot days, check in on older adults and other vulnerable people on your street.
You can beat the heat by following these 3 steps:
Step 1: Know the risks
Even healthy people and pets can get sick because of hot weather. The following groups are at higher risk and need to be extra careful:
- older adults
- people with chronic illnesses or conditions, such as heart or breathing conditions, limited physical mobility, and certain mental health illnesses
- babies and young children
- pregnant women
- people who work or exercise outdoors
- people taking certain medications
- people who use alcohol or illicit drugs
- homeless people
- low-income earners
High heat and humidity can also be a threat if you live in a building that does not have adequate cooling.
Step 2: Protect yourself and those in your care
- Drink lots of water, even if you don’t feel very thirsty.
- Avoid drinks made with alcohol or caffeine.
- Limit the time you spend outdoors during the hottest part of the day.
- Go to air-conditioned or cooler places like shopping malls, libraries, community centres or a friend’s place.
- Keep shades or drapes drawn and blinds closed on the sunny side of your home, but keep windows slightly open if you don’t have air conditioning.
- Keep electric lights off or turned down low.
- Take a cool bath or shower, or cool down with cool, wet towels.
- Avoid using your oven.
- Avoid doing lots of exercise or hard work.
- Fans may not give enough cooling when the temperature is high. Fans do not cool the air, just move the air around.
Step 3: Know when and how to help
Heat-related illness may cause the following signs and symptoms:
- difficulty breathing
- weakness or fainting
- feeling more tired than usual
To help someone with a heat-related illness:
- call for medical help
- remove excess clothing from the person
- apply cold water to large areas of the skin or clothing
- move them to a cooler, shaded location
- give sips of cool water (not ice water)
- fan the person
If you become ill, feel faint, have difficulty breathing or feel confused and disoriented, seek medical help immediately. In an emergency, call 911.
Medications and heat
Some medications make it harder for your body to control its temperature and can make it easier for your skin to burn. If you are taking any of the types of medications below, you are at higher risk for heat-related illness, especially if you are doing lots of exercise or heavy work and are not drinking enough water. Your risk is higher if you are taking 2 or more of these medications:
- psychiatric drugs
- anti-depressant drugs
- drugs for Parkinson’s disease
- some antihistamines
- over-the-counter sleeping pills
- anti-diarrhea pills
If you take any medications regularly, speak to your health care provider about staying healthy during hot weather.
Be sun safe!
- Reduce sun exposure between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.
- Wear a wide-brimmed, closely woven hat for best protection. Baseball caps and visors are not recommended, as they do not protect the back of the neck and ears.
- Wear light-coloured, loose-fitting and lightweight clothing with a tight weave to cover arms and legs.
- Seek shade or create your own shade with an umbrella.
- Use wraparound sunglasses that offer 100% UVA and UVB protection.
- Apply plenty of sunscreen with SPF 30 or more, labelled “broad spectrum” and “water resistant”. Reapply when needed (especially after swimming, sweating, or toweling).
- Use a lip balm with SPF 30 or higher to protect your lips.
- Drink water regularly.
For more information
If you would like to speak to someone about protecting yourself and your family from the heat, call Public Health Sudbury & Districts at 705.522.9200 or toll-free at 1.866.522.9200.
This item was last modified on September 3, 2020