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 can almost always be prevented.
Learn more about heat-related illness and get tips on how to stay cool when it’s warm outside.
When it’s hot outside, it can be easy to become dehydrated or suffer from a heat-related illness. Click on the links below to learn how you can beat the heat, and keep your family safe and healthy.
- Emergency First Aid for Heatstroke
- Heat-related Illness (HealthLinkBC File #35)
- Heatstroke Prevention: What to Wear
Staying Cool Indoors
Here are some tips for how to keep your home and your family cool indoors when the temperature is hot outside. Pick the tips that work for your home.
- Keep the blinds closed while the sun is up.
- In the evening when outdoor temperatures are lower, open the windows at the front and back of your home to create a cooling breeze.
- Install an air conditioner (recommended with a health efficiency particulate air filter).
- Drink plenty of cool, non-alcoholic beverages.
- Place a bowl of ice in front of a fan to create a cool breeze.
- Avoiding smoking or burning materials inside your home.
- Avoid using the oven and instead cook on the stovetop or BBQ outdoors.
- Do any physical activity in the cooler morning or evening hours.
- Spend time in the cooler rooms of your home, like a basement.
- Wear lightweight, loose-fitting clothing.
- Take a cool shower or bath.
- Avoid getting a sunburn when out in the sun.
The summer is not only hot; it is also forest fire season. Depending on the conditions there may be air quality advisories in your area. If there is an air quality advisory, you may need to close your windows to keep the smoke and particulates from inside your home. For more information about forest fires and air quality, and for tips on how to stay cool indoors during an air quality advisory, see Forest Fires and Air Quality.
Places to Keep Cool
When it’s too hot outside, some public places will offer you a chance to cool-down. Local community centres, pools, and libraries usually have air-conditioned areas open to the public. In Vancouver, many municipal buildings offer extreme heat cooling centres.
- Community centres with air-conditioned lobbies or lounges
- Public Libraries
- Swimming pools
- Water parks and Wading pools
Public Weather Alerts for British Columbia
When severe weather threatens, Environment Canada issues alerts that notify those in the affected communities.
Last Reviewed: July 2018