Climate change is resulting in more frequent extreme weather events. We encourage people to take precautions in the event of extreme weather conditions such as extreme cold and extreme heat.
Extreme Hot Weather
When extreme hot and humid weather is predicted, it can put everyone at risk from heat illnesses such as heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat fainting, heat edema (swelling of hands, feet and ankles), heat rash and heat cramps.
Environment and Climate Change Canada has developed a Heat Warning and Information System for Ontario to give advance warning of heat events. A heat warning is issued in southern Ontario when there will be 2 consecutive days of:
- 31°C or higher during the day AND 20°C or higher at night, OR
- Humidex* values of 40°C or higher (*Humidex describes how hot and humid it feels to the average person.)
Identifying Heat Illnesses
Watch for symptoms that include:
- Dizziness or fainting, nausea or vomiting
- Headache, rapid breathing and heartbeat
- Extreme thirst and decreased urination with unusually dark yellow urine
Preventing Heat Illnesses
Heat illnesses are preventable:
- Stay well hydrated, drink before feeling thirsty (plain water is best)
- Stay in an air-conditioned place
- Avoid sun exposure – stay in the shade, wear SPF 30+ sunscreen, a wide brimmed hat, UVA & UVB protective sunglasses, and loose fitting, light coloured, breathable clothing
- Take cool showers or baths
- Block the sun out by closing awnings, curtains or blinds during the day
- Reschedule strenuous outdoor activities or plan them for cooler times of the day
- Never leave people or pets in a parked vehicle or in direct sunlight
- Visit neighbours, friends and older family members, especially those who are chronically ill, to make sure that they are cool and hydrated
Homelessness During Extreme Heat Conditions
Individuals experiencing homelessness are at a higher risk of experiencing heat-related illness, as they may not be able to access places to escape high-heat conditions, particularly with the current restrictions in place related to the COVID-19 pandemic. HPEPH has created a resource page and printable fact sheet with tips on how to stay cool for people experiencing homelessness.