Many places in Canada have a high number of extreme heat events, often called “heat waves.” Extreme heat can put your health at risk, causing illnesses like heat stroke and even death. It is important to take steps to protect yourself and your family.
What are extreme heat events?
Extreme heat events involve high temperatures and sometimes high humidity. Although the level of temperature extremes may vary between regions, unusually high heat can have negative impacts on your health.
Your body produces heat, especially during physical activity. Hot air, sun rays, and hot surfaces also heat your body. This heat is lost by contact with cool air and by sweat production, which cools your body as it evaporates.
Weather conditions play a big role in how your body regulates its temperature. For example, if it’s windy, sweat evaporates faster, which helps to cool you. But high humidity slows down this process, contributing to increased body temperature.
Heat illnesses can affect you quickly, and can lead to long-term health problems and even death. They are mainly caused by being over-exposed to extreme heat especially if you are doing too much for your age and physical condition. Heat illnesses include:
- heat edema (swelling of hands, feet, and ankles)
- heat rash
- heat cramps (muscle cramps)
- heat fainting
- heat exhaustion
- heat stroke
You can find out more regarding heat waves on the government of Canada website: https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/sun-safety/extreme-heat-heat-waves.html