Health Unit Offers Hot Weather Tips To Help Keep Aware, Cool And Connected This Summer


Summer weather is here and as Simcoe Muskoka experiences the first heat warning of 2024, the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit reminds everyone that when the weather is hot there are steps you should take to stay cooler and protect your health.

During very hot weather, everyone can get sick from the heat, but some people are at higher risk because of factors such as age, health problems, or job. Individuals who may be at greater risk include infants, older adults, pregnant people, people living with chronic health conditions or mental illness, people who live alone, people without access to cooled indoor spaces and people who work or exercise in the heat.

When outdoor temperatures are hot, indoor temperatures rise and can sometimes be hotter and more dangerous than outside. Indoor temperatures of 31°C or higher are dangerous to health, especially for people at greater risk from heat. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to protect yourself. Keep aware, cool, and connected!

Keep Aware! Pay close attention to how you and those around you feel. Know the signs and symptoms of heat illnesses and what to do if they occur. Remember, heat stroke is a medical emergency! If you are caring for someone who has a high body temperature, is unconscious or confused, has stopped sweating, and/or feels dizzy/faints, call 911 immediately.

Check the weather forecast and alerts to stay informed. If you take medication or have a health condition, ask your health care provider if it increases your risk from extreme heat or dehydration.

Keep Cool! Drink plenty of water before you feel thirsty. Cool off by taking a cool shower or bath, going for a swim, putting your feet in water, or applying a damp towel to your skin. Keep indoor temperatures below 26oC. If you have air conditioning, turn it on; even on low, it can help you stay safe.

You can take steps to help reduce the amount of heat entering your space by shutting windows and doors (if indoor temperatures are comfortable) and blocking the sun by closing blinds, curtains, or awnings. Open doors and windows when it is cooler outside. Use a fan to circulate air during cooler parts of the day.

Take a break from the heat. Spend time in a cool or air-conditioned place such as a cooling space, library, public pool or shaded outdoor space. Contact your local municipality or visit their website for hours and locations of cooling spaces or go to a cooler public place like a library, shopping mall, or swimming pool.

Keep Connected! Use the heat check-in resource (available in 5 languages) to check in (in person or virtually) on neighbours, friends and family, especially those at greater risk, to make sure they are cool and hydrated.

High temperatures and humid air can increase air pollution levels, making air quality worse. Check the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) for your location and follow its recommendations to stay healthy and safe. Extreme heat is usually more dangerous than short-term exposure to poor air quality, so you should prioritize staying cool if you must choose.

For more information about extreme heat, visit the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit website at or call Health Connection weekdays 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520.


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