Woman drinking water under the sun

Tips to keep you safe in the heat.

VANCOUVER, BC – Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement for hot weather for the South Coast. The prolonged period of hot weather will start today and will continue through to Monday with Saturday and Sunday being the hottest.

While temperatures are not yet at critical levels associated with increased severe health effects from heat, Lower Mainland Medical Health Officers for Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal Health are reminding people about hot weather precautions and actions to take.

Everyone is at risk of heat related illness. 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.

1. Keep cool

  • 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.

2. Stay hydrated

  • 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.

3. Check on others

  • 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.

4. NEVER leave children or pets alone in a parked car

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.

5. Get informed

  • 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.

VCH is responsible for the delivery of $3.3 billion in community, hospital and long term care to more than one million people in communities including Richmond, Vancouver, the North Shore, Sunshine Coast, Sea to Sky corridor, Powell River, Bella Bella and Bella Coola.

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 long term care, home health, mental health and public health services.

Media contact

For media inquiries, please contact:

Tiffany Akins
Vancouver Coastal Health
Phone: 604-708-5281
Cell: 604-319-7530

Fraser Health Media Number

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