Extreme Heat

Extreme heat events can put the public at risk of heat-related illnesses. Four environmental factors work together to make it hot enough to put health at risk. This includes high temperature, high relative humidity (moisture in the air), radiant heat (from the sun) and low wind speed (lack of air movement). Additionally, an individual’s health can depend on their sensitivity, acclimatization and their own as well as their community’s adaptability to extreme heat.

Heat Affects Everybody

Heat illnesses are preventable and knowing the risks and how to protect yourself and your family will keep you safe over the summer. Much like a fever, extreme heat stresses your body’s ability to maintain its normal temperature and can lead to a heat stroke. When out in the heat, watch for symptoms of heat illness, which include:

  • dizziness or fainting;
  • nausea or vomiting;
  • headache;
  • rapid breathing and heartbeat;
  • extreme thirst; and
  • decreased urination with unusually dark yellow urine.

If you experience any of these symptoms during extreme heat, immediately move to a cool place and drink liquids. Water is best.

Heat stroke is considered the most serious heat-related illness and can result in death if not addressed quickly. Symptoms of a heat stroke include a high body temperature, confusion and feeling tired. If you suspect you or someone else is experiencing a heat stroke call 911 immediately.

A list of heat-related illnesses (in descending order of severity) and their symptoms can be found below:

  •  Heat Stroke: Most serious type of heat illness as a result of body heat overload. Signs of heat stroke include a core body temperature of more than 40C/104F, complete or partial loss of consciousness and/or reduced mental ability. Sweating is not a good indicator as there are two types of heat stroke:
    • Classic- accompanied by little or no sweating, usually occurring in children, those who are chronically ill and older adults.
    • Exertional- accompanied by an increase in core body temperature because of strenuous exercise or occupational exposure in combination with environmental heat and where sweating is usually present
  • Heat Exhaustion: Caused by excessive loss of water and salt. Symptoms include heavy sweating, weakness, dizziness, nausea, headache, diarrhea and muscle cramps.
  • Heat Fainting: Caused by the loss of body fluids from sweating and from lowered blood pressure due to pooling of blood in the legs. Symptoms include temporary dizziness and fainting resulting from an insufficient flow of blood to the brain while the person is standing.
  • Heat Cramps: Caused by a salt imbalance resulting from a failure to replace salt lost through excessive sweating. Symptoms are sharp muscle pains.
  • Heat Rash: A result of inflammation of clogged sweat glands and accompanied by tiny red spots on the skin which may give a prickling sensation.
  • Heat Edema: Heat induced swelling frequently noticeable in the ankles, feet and hands and most often seen in people who are not regularly exposed to heat.

Who is Most at Risk?

  • Infants and young children
  • Pregnant women
  • Older adults
  • People with certain chronic illnesses, such as breathing difficulties, heart conditions, or psychiatric illnesses
  • People under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • People who have mobility constraints
  • People who work or exercise outside
  • Socially disadvantaged individuals such as those who are isolated, have low income or are homeless
  • Newcomers to Canada (e.g. tourists, immigrants) that may not be acclimatized

Heat Warnings

The Brant County Health Unit’s Medical Officer of Health issues a Heat Warning or an Extended Heat Warning when certain extreme heat thresholds have been met. Details for each warning and their triggers can be found below .

  • Heat Warning: A Heat Warning will be issued when
    • 2 consecutive days are forecasted to have a daytime high temperature of 31°C or higher AND a nighttime temperature of 20°C or higher;
      OR
    • 2 consecutive days are forecasted to have a humidex of 40°C or higher.
  • Extended Heat Warning: An Extended Heat Warning will be issued when
    • 3 or more consecutive days are forecasted to have a daytime high temperature of 31°C or higher AND a nighttime temperature of 20°C or higher;
      OR
    • 3 or more consecutive days or more are forecasted to have a humidex of 40°C or higher.

Where Can I Go To Cool Down?

The following locations are available to help stay cool while a heat warning or extended heat warning is in effect:

  • City Facilities with Air Conditioning
    • Brantford Public Libraries – 173 Colborne St. Check brantford.library.on.ca for hours of operation.
    • Lynden Park Mall (84 Lynden Rd.) Monday-Friday 10am-9pm, Saturday 9:30am-6pm, Sunday 12pm-5pm.
      Holiday hours may vary.
      Visit lyndenparkmall.com for details.

    • Earl Haig Family Fun Park (100 Market St. S) Monday to Thursday from 11:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.,
      Friday and Saturday 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., Sunday 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
      Admission rates apply, visit brantford.ca/earlhaig for details.

    • Wayne Gretzky Sports Centre (254 North Park Street) Swim programs and schedules vary.
      Admission rates apply. Visit waynegretzkysportscentre.ca for details

  • Splash Pads in Brantford
    • Bridle Park Path (55 Palomino Drive) open 10:00 a.m. to dusk
    • Harmony Square (89 Dalhousie St.) open 10:00 a.m. to dusk
    • Mohawk Park Sprinklemania (51 Lynwood Drive) open 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
    • Tutela Park (160 Erie Ave.) open 10:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.

What Else Can I Do to Prevent Heat Related Illnesses?

The following actions can help you stay cool and prevent heat-related illness:

  • Drink plenty of cool liquids, especially water, before feeling thirsty.
  • Wear loose-fitting, light-coloured clothing made of breathable fabric.
  • Take cool showers or baths until you feel refreshed.
  • Take a break from the heat by spending a few hours in a cool place.
  • Block sun out by closing awnings, curtains or blinds during the day.
  • If you must be outdoors, avoid sun exposure by staying in the shade; wear a wide-brimmed, breathable hat or use an umbrella.
  • If you are taking medication or have a health condition, ask your doctor or pharmacist if it increases your health risk in the heat and follow their recommendations.
  • Plan outdoor activities during cooler parts of the day (the early morning or in the evening).
  • Never leave people or pets in your care inside a parked vehicle or in direct sunlight.
  • Frequently visit neighbours, friends and older family members, especially those who are elderly and living alone as well as those who are chronically ill, to make sure that they are cool and hydrated.