Environment Canada is forecasting hot weather this weekend for Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley and Sea to Sky corridor. As a result, the Lower Mainland medical health officers for Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal Health are warning residents to take precautions.
Prepare for the heat
While warm weather is eagerly anticipated, hot temperatures can be dangerous. There are a variety of mild to severe symptoms linked with heat-related illness, including thirst, dizziness, confusion, weakness/fainting/collapse and even death. Medical health officers are reminding residents to take precautions to protect themselves from the heat, including:
Drink cool beverages (preferably water), no matter how physically active you are. Don’t wait until you are thirsty.
If your doctor generally limits the amount of fluid you drink or has you on water pills, ask about increasing the amount of water you can drink while the weather is hot.
Spend at least several hours every day in an air-conditioned facility (such as a shopping centre, library, community centre or restaurant).
Use public splash pools, water parks or pools or take a cool bath or shower.
During periods of hot weather, fans alone are not effective. Applying cool water mist or wet towels to your body prior to sitting in front of a fan is a quick way to cool off.
Dress for the weather by wearing loose, light-weight clothing. Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses.
Keep your home cool. Close shades during the day, open windows at night, use an air conditioner and prepare meals that do not require an oven.
Avoid sunburn, stay in the shade or use sunscreen with SPF 30 or more.
Avoid tiring physical work or exercise in the heat. If you must exercise, drink two to four glasses of non-alcoholic fluids each hour. Limit outdoor activity during the day to early morning and evening.
NEVER leave children or pets alone in a parked car. Temperatures can rise to 52°C (125°F) within 20 minutes in an enclosed vehicle when the outside temperature is 34°C (93°F). Leaving the car windows slightly open or “cracked” will not keep the inside of the vehicle at a safe temperature.
People at increased risk
Some groups of people are at increased risk of severe heat related illness, including:
Seniors and infants
Individuals with heart, lung and kidney conditions
Those living alone or are unable to leave their homes
These people should take extra care to keep cool.
Check in on others
Check regularly on older people, those who are unable to leave their homes and anyone who may not be spending at least several hours every day in air conditioned places for signs of heat-related illness.
Ask whether people know how to prevent heat-related illness and are doing so.
If they are unwell, move them to a cool shady spot, help them get hydrated and call for medical assistance if required.
Listen to local news and weather channels.
For more information or concerns about heat-related illness, call HealthLink BC by dialing 811.
Contact your local government to find out what services (such as air conditioned buildings and public splash parks) are available in your area.