Sun Safety / Extreme Heat
It is so great that the sun is finally out and warming things up. We all want to get out there and soak in some rays, but there are a number of reasons to take some precautions:
- People can get a serious sunburn in only 15 minutes in the bright sun. Serious sunburns can lead to skin cancer.
- Some medications can make people more sensitive to sun.
- The bright sun can also damage your eyes.
Sun safety tips
You can protect yourself and the people you support and still have fun under the sun.
- Cover up. When the UV Index is 3 or higher, protect your skin as much as possible. Wear light-coloured, long-sleeved shirts, pants, and a wide-brimmed hat made from breathable fabric. When you buy sunglasses, make sure they provide protection against both UVA and UVB rays.
- Limit your time in the sun. Keep out of the sun and heat between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. The UV index in Canada can be 3 or higher during those times. When your shadow is shorter than you, the sun is very strong. Look for places with lots of shade, like a park with big trees, partial roofs, awnings, umbrellas or gazebo tents. Always take an umbrella to the beach.
- Use the UV Index forecast. Tune in to local radio and TV stations or check online for the UV index forecast in your area. When the UV index is 3 or higher, wear protective clothing, sunglasses, and sunscreen, even when it’s cloudy.
- Use sunscreen. Put sunscreen on when the UV index is 3 or higher. Use sunscreen labelled “broad spectrum” and “water resistant” with an SPF of at least 30.
- Drink plenty of cool liquids (especially water) before you feel thirsty. If sunny days are also hot and humid, stay cool and hydrated to avoid heat illness. Dehydration (not having enough fluids in your body) is dangerous, and thirst is not a good indicator of dehydration.
- Avoid using tanning equipment. There is no such thing as a ‘healthy’ tan. Using tanning equipment damages your skin and increases your risk of developing melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.
EXTREME HEAT PREPARATIONS
This weekend is not predicted to be as hot as last year’s heat dome, but it is helpful to be be prepared when it does get hotter.
Guidelines for staying safe in extreme heat:
- Drink plenty of water, even if you don’t feel thirsty
- Take a cool bath or shower, or soak your feet in cool water
- Set up fans or portable air conditioning units
- Make sure thermostats are turned DOWN
- Close curtains and blinds to block the sunlight
- Find spaces to cool down – shade, swimming pool, air conditioned public spaces
- Wear light, loose-fitting clothing
- Reduce physical activity, and take plenty of breaks
- Plan activity in the early morning or evening if possible
- Use sunscreen and wear a hat when going outside to avoid sunburn or heat stroke, and take a water bottle with you
- Check local news and weather forecasts for updates
If we get to an extreme heat situation, watch yourself, or people you care about for the symptoms of heat illness, which include:
- Dizziness or fainting
- Nausea or vomiting
- Rapid breathing and heart beat
- Extreme thirst (dry mouth, sticky saliva)
- Decreased urination with unusually dark yellow urine
- Behavioural changes
Any symptoms of heat illness should be treated as a medical emergency.
Last year we updated our Natural Disasters policy to include a section on Extreme Heat Events. You can read it here:
Let us know if you need assistance in preparing or keeping safe.