It’s been a scorching hot week here in Ottawa, and temperatures are expected to stay high all week long. Environment Canada has issued a heat warning for Southern Ontario, including the city of Ottawa and the surrounding area. “A hot airmass will continue to dominate Southern Ontario today through Wednesday. Daytime highs in the low thirties are expected with warm overnight minimum temperatures near 20 degrees for the regions with heat warnings.”
It’s important to stay safe, especially if you plan to be outdoors for any extended period of time in the next few days. Here are some tips for staying healthy and handling the current heat wave:
Avoid Peak Times
The sun is at its hottest between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm. If possible, try to schedule your activities in the morning and evening to avoid being outside at these peak times. This is especially important for children and the elderly.
Drink plenty of water before you go outdoors, and keep rehydrating your body with water throughout the day. If you feel thirst, it means you’re already dehydrated, so don’t let your body reach that point. Alcoholic and caffeinated beverages dehydrate the body, so avoid drinking pop, beer, and wine, outside on these blazing hot days.
If you are going to be outside for long stretches in the middle of the day, make sure you take breaks to get some shade and water. If it’s possible to do your activity in the shade, do so. If not, wear a hat to shield you as much as possible.
Protect your skin with sunscreen rated SPF 30 or higher. Remember to reapply every couple of hours, and after you have been in the water. If you don’t protect yourself, you will develop a sunburn which causes the body to dehydrate further and can lead to heat stroke.
Wear Proper Clothing
On the hottest days, it’s important to wear light and loose clothing. This way air can circulate around your body and cool you, but you have the least amount of sun exposure on your body. Also wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses.
Do Not Leave Pets & Children in the Car
It doesn’t matter if you’ve cracked the window – it’s unsafe and unfair to leave your pets and children in the car. Your car acts like a greenhouse and traps hot air inside, causing interior temperatures to rise even hotter than the scorching levels outside. Take them with you into the store or make alternate arrangements so they can stay cool at home.
Keep Cool at Home
If you have air conditioning, it’s easy to crank it up and enjoy the cool air. If not, a smart mixture of closed blinds, open windows (for wind), and fans will keep you cool. Try not to use the oven, as it emits a lot of heat.
Outdoor splash pads, swimming pools, water parks, and cold showers can help your body cool off. Just remember to reapply sunscreen, stay hydrated, and take frequent breaks from the direct sunlight.
Get Creative with the Cold
Cool down your skin by applying a cold towel or misting yourself with cool water. Bring it with you outdoors if possible. Use ice cubs and fans in combination to cool you down. Have fun and get creative!
Check in On Neighbours & Family
We all have to work together to keep everyone safe during a heat wave. Make sure you check in on your loved ones and friends who are elderly and may need assistance during this time. If their home is not comfortable during the heat wave, invite them to stay over and cool down at your home.
Symptoms of extreme heat include dizziness, fainting, nausea, vomiting, headache, rapid breathing/heartbeat, extreme thirst, and decreased urination. If you experience any of these symptoms get to shade and drink plenty of water. Seek medical attention if symptoms persist.