Connexions Resource Centre - Main Office
Visits by appointment only
67, rue du Couvent, Gatineau, Qc, J9H 6A2
819-557-0615 •

Connexions Resource Centre - Satellite Offices
Visits by appointment only
Shawville: 530, rue Main, Shawville, Qc, J0X 2Y0
Wakefield: 721, chemin Riverside, Wakefield, QC J0X 3G0
819-557-0615 •

Beat the Heat and Stay Safe in the Sun

Heat Warning! Stay hydrated & safe. Quebec PSA: 811 (Info-Santé).
It’s really hot!

Heat waves can hit fast and turn sunny days scorching. While summer is a time to soak up the sun, it’s crucial to stay safe during these intense heat spells.

Who is Most at Risk?

While everyone can be affected by heat-related health problems, some people are more at risk, including:

  • Older adults: They may have less efficient bodies at regulating temperature and may have difficulty staying hydrated.
  • People experiencing homelessness: They may not have access to air conditioning or other cooling methods and may be more likely to be exposed to extreme heat.
  • Babies and children under 5: They have smaller bodies and more skin surface area relative to their body weight, which makes them lose heat more quickly. They are also less able to communicate their thirst and may not drink enough fluids.
  • Outdoor workers: They are exposed to the heat for long periods of time and may also be wearing heavy clothing or protective gear that can make it difficult to stay cool.
  • People with chronic diseases: They may have medications or conditions that make it difficult for their bodies to regulate temperature or respond to heat stress.
  • People who need help drinking: They may be unable to drink enough fluids to stay hydrated, especially if they are also taking medications that can cause dehydration.
  • People with alcohol and drug use problems: They may be more likely to engage in risky behaviors that increase their risk of heat-related illness, such as drinking alcohol or using drugs in hot weather.
Public service announcement poster about heat wave safety in Quebec. Text reads "It's really HOT!" with a thermometer at 40 degrees Celsius. Warns of dangers of hot weather and provides contact information for Quebec telehealth service Info-Santé at 811.
It’s really hot! Precautions to take for children

How to Stay Safe in the Heat All Summer Long

Here are some tips to help you stay safe and cool throughout the summer:

  • Hydrate yourself: Drink plenty of fluids, even if you don’t feel thirsty. Water is the best choice, but you can also drink sports drinks or electrolyte-rich beverages. Avoid sugary drinks, alcohol, and caffeine, as these can dehydrate you further.
  • Stay cool: Spend time in air-conditioned spaces as much as possible, especially during the hottest part of the day (typically between 11 am and 4 pm). If you don’t have air conditioning, take cool showers or baths and wear loose-fitting, light-colored clothing. Never leave children or pets in a parked car, even for a short period of time.
  • Protect yourself from the sun: Seek shade, especially during peak sun hours. Wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses to protect your face and eyes from the sun’s rays. Apply sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher to all exposed skin, even on cloudy days. Reapply sunscreen every two hours, or more often if you are sweating or swimming.
  • Plan outdoor activities wisely: Schedule strenuous activities for cooler times of the day, such as early mornings or evenings. Plan breaks in the shade and take advantage of air-conditioned spaces when possible.
  • Check on others: Look out for older adults, people with chronic illnesses, and people who are socially isolated to make sure they are staying cool and hydrated. If you see someone who is struggling in the heat, call 911 or seek medical attention immediately.

Signs and Symptoms of Heat Illness:

Heat Exhaustion:

  • High body temperature
  • Confusion and lack of coordination
  • Skin rash
  • Muscle cramps
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Heavy sweating
  • Headache
  • Rapid breathing and heartbeat
  • Extreme thirst
  • Dark urine and decreased urination

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

Public service announcement poster about heat wave dangers. Image of an older adult in the sun. Québec government.
Heat Waves are Deadly Serious…Be Cautious! Click to read the full PDF document.

Heat Stroke:

  • High body temperature
  • Confusion and lack of coordination
  • Dizziness/Fainting
  • No sweating, but very hot, red skin

Heat stroke is a medical emergency! Call 911 or your local emergency number immediately. 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; and
  • fanning the person as much as possible.

Staying Informed and Seeking Help

  • Check on your loved ones: Regularly check in on older adults, people with chronic illnesses, and those living alone to ensure they are staying cool, hydrated, and protected from the sun.
  • Stay informed about local measures: Be aware of any measures your municipality has put in place to help people cope with extreme heat, such as extended hours at cooling centers or public pools.
  • Seek medical attention if needed: If you experience any signs of heat-related illness or sun damage, don’t hesitate to seek medical attention. Call Info-Santé at 811 for free telephone consultation with a nurse.

Additional Resources:

Source: Information and infographic taken from Health Canada website.