Vancouver/Abbotsford/Chilliwack – Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement for hot weather for Whistler, Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, Howe Sound, and the Sunshine Coast. The prolonged period of hot weather will start tomorrow and will continue through early next week – with Saturday and Sunday being the hottest. For the next few days, onshore sea-breezes will cap temperatures in the mid-twenties near the ocean. Slightly inland, temperatures will hover near 30 degrees. This is the first stretch of hot weather this season. As a result, the Lower Mainland Medical Health Officers for Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal Health are issuing this joint news release about hot weather precautions.
Prepare for the heat
While warm weather is pleasant and eagerly anticipated in British Columbia, hot temperatures can be dangerous. Everyone is at risk of heat related illness, but in particular, children, seniors and people with chronic health conditions are more vulnerable. There are a variety of mild to severe symptoms linked with heat-related illness, including thirst, dizziness, confusion, weakness/fainting/collapsing and even death. Medical Health Officers are reminding residents to take precautions to protect themselves from the heat, including:
1. Stay hydrated
- Drink cool 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.
2. Keep cool
- Spend the hottest hours of the day (between 11am and 2pm) out of the sun and heat in a cool location like an air-conditioned facility (such as a shopping centre, library, community centre or restaurant) or in a basement.
- Use public splash pools, water parks or pools or take a cool bath or shower.
- At high 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, light-weight clothing. Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses.
- Keep your home cool. Open windows, close shades, 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.
- NEVER leave children or pets alone in a parked car. During warm weather, temperatures can rise very quickly to dangerous levels within an enclosed vehicle. Leaving the car windows slightly open or “cracked” will not keep the inside of the vehicle at a safe temperature.
3. Check in on others
- People living alone are at high risk of severe heat related illness. 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 the same.
- If they are unwell, move them to a cool shady spot, help them get hydrated and call for medical assistance if required.
4. Get informed.
- Monitor 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.
Fraser Health provides a wide range of integrated health care services to more than 1.7 million people living in communities stretching from Burnaby to White Rock to Hope. Our quality health care services range from acute care hospitals to community-based residential, home health, mental health and public health services.