Environment Canada has issued a heat warning for Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley. Sunny skies and very warm air are on tap for the next several days.
Those most vulnerable to high temperatures include young children, the elderly who are housebound in un-air-conditioned homes, those working or exercising in the heat, persons with chronic heart and lung conditions, persons with mental illness, people living alone in un-air-conditioned homes and the homeless. If you are taking medication, particularly for mental illness, heart disease or Alzheimer's disease, ask your doctor or pharmacist whether it increases your health risk in the heat and follow their recommendations.
- 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.
- At current temperatures, 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, lightweight clothing. Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses.
- Keep your home cool. Open windows (ensuring children are not at risk of falling from them), close shades or blinds, 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 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.
- Drink cool, non-alcoholic beverages (preferably water) irrespective of your activity intake. 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.
- People living alone are at high risk of severe heat related illness. Check in regularly with anyone who lives alone, particularly older people, those with mental illness and anyone else who is unable to leave their un-air conditioned homes, for signs of heat-related illness.
- Ask whether people know how to prevent heat-related illness and are taking precautions.
- If they are unwell, move them to a cool shady spot, help them get hydrated and call for medical assistance if required.
- 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.
- Listen to local news and weather channels.
- For more information on heat-related illness, call HealthLink BC at 811.
- Contact your local government to find out what services (such as air conditioned buildings and public splash parks) are available in your area.