During the summer months, the temperatures in British Columbia can exceed 30°C (86°F), sometimes reaching the mid to high 30's in some parts of the province. Too much heat can be harmful to your health and cause heat-related illnesses.
Heat-related illness is the result of your body gaining heat faster than it can cool itself down. Those at increased risk for heat-related illness include: infants and children, people 65 years of age or older, and people who do a lot of physical activity or work in a hot environment. In most cases, heat-related illnesses are preventable.
Learn more about heat-related illness and get tips on how to stay cool when it's hot outside.
Staying Healthy in the Heat
When it's hot outside, it can be easy to become dehydrated or suffer from a heat-related illness. Learn how you can beat the heat, to keep yourself and your family safe and healthy.
- BC Hydro: Summer home cooling tips
- Fraser Health: Sun and heat safety
- Government of Canada: Staying Healthy in the Heat
- Government of Canada: Sun safety basics
- Island Health: Sun Protection
- Island Health: Heat Safety
- Sun Safety for Children (HealthLinkBC File #26)
- Ultraviolet Radiation (HealthLinkBC File #11)
To learn more about staying safe and healthy this summer, see Your Health This Summer
Warm Weather Safety and COVID-19
Those who are wearing a mask and have difficulty breathing are advised to remove their mask and catch their breath, whether they are indoors or outside. Visit BCCDC for more information.
Hot Car Warning
Never leave a child or pet alone in a vehicle, even for a few minutes. Leaving the car windows slightly open or "cracked" will not keep the inside of the vehicle at a safe temperature. If you come across a child or animal in distress that has been left in a hot vehicle, call 9-1-1. For more information, see Canada Safety Council: Hot Car Warning
Too much heat can be harmful to your health. Heat-related illness is the result of your body gaining heat faster than it can cool itself down. Heat-related illnesses can almost always be prevented.
If you think you have a heat-related illness, use our Heat-Related Illnesses: Check Your Symptoms tool to help make an informed decision on when to seek healthcare.
- Heat Rash
- Heat Syncope (Fainting)
- Heat-related Illness (HealthLinkBC File #35)
- Medicines That Increase the Chance for a Heat-Related Illness
- Prickly Heat Rash
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.
- Fraser Health Authority: Extreme Heat
- Government of Canada: Extreme heat: heat waves
- Vancouver Coastal Health: Extreme heat
- Red Cross: Heat Waves: Before, During & After
Heatstroke is a life-threatening medical emergency. Call 9-1-1 or other emergency medical services as soon as you suspect or see the signs of heatstroke in an individual. Learn more about heatstroke.
- Emergency First Aid for Heatstroke
- Heatstroke: Emergency Symptoms
- Heatstroke Prevention: What to Wear
Workplace Health and Safety
When you work outdoors or indoors in environments with high temperatures such as bakeries, smelters, or restaurant kitchens, you are at risk for heat stress and other health concerns. Learn more about hot environments, how they can affect you and ways to prevent heat stress at work.
Places to Keep Cool
When it's too hot outside, many public places and municipal buildings will offer you a chance to cool down. Local community centres, malls, pools and libraries usually have air-conditioned areas open to the public. Many communities have waterparks, wading pools and beaches where you can cool down. If these are available be mindful of physical distancing rules during COVID-19. Local government websites often list community centres, fountains, libraries, swimming pools, water parks and wading pools.
Find a list of cooling centres in your area.
If your local community is not listed, please call your local municipality or check their website to see where air-conditioned cooling centres are located. You can also contact your local library to see if they are open.
Public Weather Alerts for British Columbia
When severe weather threatens, Environment Canada issues alerts that notify those in the affected communities. Learn more:
- BCCDC: British Columbia Heat Impacts Prediction System (BCHIPS)
- Public Weather Alerts for British Columbia
- Alerts for: Metro Vancouver
Last Updated: August 13, 2021