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Heat, Sun and UV Safety

Heat warnings are issued when high temperature or humidity conditions reach criteria established by Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC), and are expected to pose an elevated risk of heat-related illnesses, such as heat stroke or heat exhaustion.  

While extreme heat can affect everyone’s health, the risks are greatest for:
•    older adults;
•    infants and young children;
•    people with chronic illnesses, such as breathing difficulties, heart conditions, or psychiatric illnesses;
•    people who work in the heat;
•    people who exercise in the heat;
•    people experiencing homelessness; and
•    people with low income (who may not have access to air conditioning)

Heat-related illnesses are preventable. Huron Perth Public Health recommends you take measures to protect yourself and others from over-exposure to extreme heat:

  • Drink plenty of cool liquids, especially water, before you feel thirsty to decrease your risk of dehydration. You may be dehydrated before you start feeling thirsty.
  • Reschedule or plan outdoor activities during cooler parts of the day.
  • Wear loose-fitting, light-coloured clothing made of breathable fabric.
  • Take a break from the heat by spending a few hours in a cool place, such as a tree-shaded area or air-conditioned space.
  • Contact your municipality, visit your municipal website, or call 211 for hours and locations of any nearby cooling centres.
  • Take cool showers or baths until you feel refreshed.
  • Prepare meals that don’t need to be cooked in your oven.
  • Block sun out by closing curtains or blinds during the day.
  • Avoid sun exposure. Shade yourself by wearing a wide-brimmed, breathable hat or using an umbrella.
  • Never leave people or pets inside a parked vehicle or in direct sunlight.
  • Check in on neighbours, friends and older family members, especially those with chronic illness, to make sure they are cool and hydrated.

Heat-related illnesses include heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat fainting, heat edema (swelling of hands, feet and ankles), heat rash, and heat cramps (muscle cramps). These illnesses can affect a person quickly. Watch for symptoms of heat illness, which include: 

  • Headache
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Rapid breathing and heartbeat
  • Extreme thirst
  • Decreased urination with unusually dark yellow urine
  • Changes in behaviour in children (e.g. sleepiness)

If you have any of these systems following exposure to high temperatures, immediately move to a cool place and drink liquids. Water is best.

Symptoms of heat stroke include high body temperature, confusion, being unconscious or stopping sweating. Heat stroke is a medical emergency. Call 911 or your local emergency number immediately if you are caring for someone with symptoms of heat stroke. While waiting for help, cool the person right away by:

  • Moving them to a cool place, if you can
  • Applying cold water to large areas of the skin or clothing
  • Fanning the person as much as possible.

Reduce strenuous activity during periods of extreme heat, and plan physical activities for cooler parts of the day. Exercise in an air-conditioned place, or a cooler outdoor location such as a tree-shaded area away from high traffic to avoid high levels of air pollution. Pollution levels tend to be higher on hot days; the Air Quality Health Index can be used to determine the air quality in your neighbourhood.

Follow Environment Canada’s weather forecasts at so you can plan ahead to stay safe in hot and humid weather. You can also receive weather alerts from “EC Alert me” by signing up at

Ultraviolet radiation or UV rays from the sun, tanning beds or tanning lamps can cause skin cancer. 

Here are a few things you can do to enjoy the sun safely: 

  • Wear sunscreen (SPF 30+) 
  • Avoid direct sunlight between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. 
  • Stay in the shade as much as possible throughout the day 
  • Wear sunglasses with UV protection 
  • Wear sun protective clothing and a wide-brimmed hat 

Learn more about how to protect yourself from sun damage and how to choose the best sunscreen for your and your family. 

Learn why indoor tanning is unsafe. It is illegal for people under 18 to use tanning beds in Ontario. 

If you work outdoors in Perth and Huron counties, review the tips at Sun Safety at Work

Contact Us

Huron Perth Public Health

Huron Office
77722B London Road, RR #5, Clinton, ON
N0M 1L0

Perth Office
653 West Gore St., Stratford ON N5A 1L4
Toll-free 1-888-221-2133

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