Heat Waves

Heat Waves

British Columbia Specific Information

Too much heat can be harmful to your health. It can lead to weakness, disorientation, exhaustion, and in severe cases, it can lead to heat stroke. To learn more about heat-related illnesses, visit our Beat the heat health feature.


A heat wave is 3 or more days in a row when the maximum temperature is 32°C (89.6°F) or more. Everyone has an increased risk for a heat-related illness during a heat wave. Extensive exposure to extreme heat can result in serious medical conditions such as heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

A heat-related illness can be more serious for:

    • Older adults, who may not notice excessive heat, do not sweat as effectively, or do not feel thirsty.
    • Small children, who can't transfer heat very well.
    • People with chronic medical conditions.
    • People taking medicines, such as heart medicines or tranquilizers, for serious psychiatric disorders or depression.
    • People with weight problems.
    • People with alcohol or drug use problems.
    • People with mental health or developmental problems.
    • People who work in the heat.
    • People who exercise in the heat.
    • People who are homeless. 

Other things that affect a person's risk for a heat-related illness during a heat wave include:

  • Living in cities, because heat is trapped by tall buildings and air pollutants.
  • Living alone.
  • Not having cooling devices, such as fans or air-conditioning.


Adaptation Date: 6/14/2023

Adapted By: HealthLink BC

Adaptation Reviewed By: HealthLink BC