Slather on the sunblock this weekend and drink plenty of water: Heat warnings have been issued for much of the province.
Environment Canada has divided B.C. into 31 regions, and 16 of those have been issued heat warnings. Further, with wildfires raging throughout the province, 20 regions were issued air quality warnings.
Nearly all of the south coast – the Sunshine Coast, Whistler, Howe Sound, Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley, East Vancouver Island, Inland Vancouver Island and Southern Gulf Islands – are under a heat warning. North Vancouver Island and West Vancouver Island, however, are not.
In Metro Vancouver, Environment Canada says temperatures reaching 29 degrees Celsius will continue, as a prolonged stretch of well-above normal temperatures is forecast as a ridge of high pressure remains anchored offshore. This period of hot weather will persist through the weekend.
In the Southern Interior, the Fraser Canyon, South and North Thompson are under heat warnings. Temperatures are expected to reach 30 to 35 degrees, with hot weather expected to persist into early next week.
The Okanagan isn’t under a heat warning, though quite high temperatures are expected. The mercury is predicted to reach 33 on Friday. 34 on Saturday, 36 on Sunday and 37 on Monday. However, the region is under an air quality warning because of wildfires.
The north-central regions of B.C., including the Cariboo, Chilcotin and Prince George areas, are under air quality warnings as well.
Further, no less than five regions – 100 Mile House, Fort Nelson, the North Coast plus the North and South Thompson regions – were issued both heat and air quality warnings.
For more on Environment Canada’s weather alerts, click here.
According to Environment Canada, heat warnings are issued when very high temperature or humidity conditions are expected to pose an elevated risk of heat illnesses, such as heat stroke or heat exhaustion.
Along with slipping on a shirt, slopping on sunscreen and slapping on a hat, here are some tips from Environment and Climate Change Canada in how to stay cool during hot weather:
- Stay hydrated by drinking cold beverages, preferably water.
- Spend time in an air-conditioned facility for at least several hours every day.
- Avoid sunburn by staying in the shade and using sunscreen with SPF 30 or more.
- Further, Interior Health says too much heat can be harmful and that in severe cases it can lead to heat stroke. Interior Health says here are some signs to watch for and suggested tips to keep you safe and healthy.
Who is most at risk?
- Infants and children up to four years of age who rely on adults to make sure their environments are comfortable and provide them with enough fluids.
- People 65 years of age or older who may not compensate for heat stress efficiently and are less likely to sense and respond to high temperatures.
- Healthy individuals who do a lot of physical activity or work in a hot environment.
- Those with heart problems and breathing difficulties.
Symptoms to watch for?
- The symptoms of heat-related illness can range from mild to severe. They include:
- pale, cool, moist skin;
- heavy sweating;
- muscle cramps;
- swelling, especially hands and feet;
- fatigue and weakness;
- dizziness and/or fainting;
- nausea and/or vomiting;
- fever, particularly a core body temperature of 40° C (104° F) or more;
- confusion and decreased mental alertness;
- red, hot, dry skin (in the late stages of heat stroke);
- seizures; and
What should a person do if they are experiencing symptoms?
When recognized early, most mild heat-related illnesses can be treated at home. Home treatment for mild heat exhaustion may include:
- moving to a cooler environment;
- drinking plenty of cool, non-alcoholic fluids;
- taking a cool shower or bath; and
- wearing lightweight clothing
If your symptoms last longer than one hour, change, worsen or cause you concern, contact a health-care provider.
What steps can people take to avoid heat related illness?
- Never leave children or pets alone in a parked car. Temperatures can rise to 52 C (125 F) within 20 minutes inside a vehicle when the outside temperature is 34 C (93 F). Leaving the car windows slightly open will not keep the inside of the vehicle at a safe temperature.
- Remember, sunscreen will protect against the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays, but not from the heat.
- Plan your outdoor activity before 11 a.m. or after 4 p.m., when the sun’s ultra-violet radiation is the weakest.
- Avoid tiring work or exercise in hot, humid environments. If you must work or exercise, drink two to four glasses of non-alcoholic fluids each hour. Rest breaks are important and should be taken in the shade.
- Wear lightweight, light-coloured, loose-fitting clothing and a wide brimmed hat, or use an umbrella for shade.