How to beat the heat this summer

With summer here and school out, now is the perfect time to enjoy the great outdoors with your family and friends. However, it is important to do so responsibly. Summer in Canada – particularly in Southern Ontario – can bring extreme heat and sticky, humid weather, which can affect the body’s ability to regulate its temperature and can lead to serious health issues like fainting, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. As we head into the sunny days of summer, here are some tips on how to beat the heat and recognize the signs of heat-related illnesses:
 

  
1. Drink up!

Drink plenty of cool fluids – especially water – to prevent dehydration, even if you aren’t feeling thirsty.
 
2. Know the forecast

In particular, keep an eye on the humidex rating. This number combines the temperature and humidity to tell you how hot it will feel outside.
 
3. Plan ahead

Avoid being outside during the hottest part of the day and reschedule outdoor activities, if necessary.
 
4. Slow down

Take your time when doing outdoor activities and take lots of breaks to cool down in the shade and rehydrate.

5. Fashion matters

Opt for loose, light-coloured clothing, and always wear a hat and sunglasses.

6. Lather on the sunscreen

Sunscreen may not cool you off but it does prevent sunburns, which can reduce the body’s ability to cool off.

Recognize the signs of heat-related illnesses, including:

  • Dizziness, weakness or fainting
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Headache
  • Quick, shallow breathing and rapid heartbeat
  • Cramps or muscle tightening
  • Skin that is redder or paler than normal
  • Bizarre, irritable or out-of-character behaviour
Know what to do: If you or someone you know experiences these symptoms, you
should:
 
  • Move to a cool place
  • Sip a cool drink – preferably water
  • Loosen tight clothing
  • Pour cool water on the person’s skin and/or clothing
  • If the person’s condition doesn’t improve or if he/she loses consciousness, call 9-1-1