Heat wave about to hit Lower Mainland and here’s how to keep your cool

Hottest weather expected Saturday and Sunday, residents of Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley urged to take precautions

Stay hydrated during this weekend's hot weather

A heat wave is hitting the Lower Mainland starting today and running through the weekend.

Environment Canada issued a special weather statement for the expected hot weather for Whistler, Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, Howe Sound, and the Sunshine Coast.

It says the “prolonged period of hot weather” would start today (Friday) and continue through early next week – with Saturday and Sunday being the hottest.

On-shore breezes are expected to cap temperatures in the mid-20s, but temperatures are expected to hover around 30 slightly inland.

Area health authorities cautioned the hot temperatures can be dangerous.

“Everyone is at risk of heat related illness, but in particular, children, seniors and people with chronic health conditions are more vulnerable,” according to a news release from medical health officers with Vancouver Coastal and Fraser health authorities.

“There are a variety of mild to severe symptoms linked with heat-related illness, including thirst, dizziness, confusion, weakness/fainting/collapsing and even death.”

They offer the following suggested precautions to protect yourself from the heat:

1. Stay hydrated

•    Drink cool 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.


2. Keep cool

•    Spend the hottest hours of the day (between 11am and 2pm) out of the sun and heat in a cool location like an air-conditioned facility (such as a shopping centre, library, community centre or restaurant) or in a basement.

•    Use public splash pools, water parks or pools or take a cool bath or shower.

•    At high 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, light-weight clothing. Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses.

•    Keep your home cool. Open windows, close shades, 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.

•    NEVER leave children or pets alone in a parked car. During warm weather, temperatures can rise very quickly to dangerous levels within an enclosed vehicle. Leaving the car windows slightly open or “cracked” will not keep the inside of the vehicle at a safe temperature.


3. Check in on others

•    People living alone are at high risk of severe heat related illness. Check regularly on older people, those who are unable to leave their homes and anyone who may not be spending at least several hours every day in air conditioned places for signs of heat-related illness.

•    Ask whether people know how to prevent heat-related illness and are doing the same.

•    If they are unwell, move them to a cool shady spot, help them get hydrated and call for medical assistance if required.


4. Get informed.

•    Monitor 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.

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