Home Health Heat Stress Heat warning for Vancouver Island: Aug 13 to 17

Heat warning for Vancouver Island: Aug 13 to 17

From Duncan to Campbell River

thermometer, 30C, celcius,, heat wave
 GROWING NATURAL FOOD IN URBAN SPACES

Saturday August 12, 2023 | VICTORIA, BC [Updated August 14, 2023]

by Mary P Brooke, B.Sc. | Island Social Trends


Environment and Climate Change Canada has issued a heat warning for East Vancouver Island. But wow, it’s hot on the west side of south Vancouver Island too!

In a news release this morning, Island Health is advising people on the east side of Vancouver Island to prepare for the heat.

A strong ridge of high pressure will bring rising temperatures to the South Coast, including East Vancouver Island from Duncan to Campbell River, from Sunday Aug. 13 to Thursday August 17.

heat, prepare, emergency, jdf

Above-seasonal daytime temperatures between 29°C and 32°C with overnight lows near 17°C are expected. Cooler temperatures are expected Friday and into the weekend.

The heat intensity will not be as bad as in the heat dome of June 2021, as the environmental conditions will not be trapping the extreme daytime heat overnight.

thermometer, 30C, celcius,, heat wave

Longer nights now in August (compared to June) will help things cool down overnight.

Also in the BC Interior:

Interior Health has advised people who live in that area (BC mainland interior) that daytime temperatures over the next few days will be in the mid-to-high 30’s degrees Celcius; overnight lows will be near 18°C.

Heat-related illness:

With elevated temperatures, the risk of heat-related illness increases.

The BC Centre of Disease Control provides a broad range of heat-related guidance including information on the different types of heat alerts, how to prepare for hot temperatures, symptoms of heat-related illnesses, those most at risk during hot weather and ways to stay cool. 

alistair macgregor, mp

Preparing for and responding to hot weather:

  • If you have air conditioning at home, make sure it is in good working order.
  • If you do not have air conditioning at home:
    • Find somewhere you can cool off on hot days. Consider places in your community to spend time indoors such as libraries, community centres, movie theatres or malls. Also, as temperatures may be hotter inside than outside, consider outdoor spaces with lots of shade and running water. 
    • Shut windows and close curtains and blinds during the heat of the day to block the sun and prevent hotter outdoor air from coming inside. Open doors and windows when it is cooler outside to move that cooler air indoors. 
    • Ensure that you have a working fan, but do not rely on fans as your primary means of cooling. Fans can be used to draw cooler late-evening, overnight and early-morning air indoors. Keep track of temperatures in your home using a thermostat or thermometer. Sustained indoor temperatures over 31 C can be dangerous for people who are susceptible to heat.
    • If your home gets very hot, consider staying with a friend or relative who has air conditioning if possible.
  • Identify people who may be at high risk for heat-related illness. If possible, help them prepare for heat and plan to check in on them. 
west shore parks and recreation, wspr, colwood, august 2023

Who is most at risk?

It is important to monitor yourself, family members, neighbours and friends during hot weather. Consider developing a check-in system for those who are at high risk of heat-related illness. 

The most susceptible individuals include: 

  • older adults, especially those over 60
  • people who live alone 
  • people with pre-existing health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease or respiratory disease 
  • people with mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, depression or anxiety 
  • people with substance use disorders 
  • people with limited mobility and other disabilities
  • people who are marginally housed 
  • people who work in hot environments 
  • people who are pregnant 
  • infants and young children

Your health:

  • Drink plenty of water and other liquids to stay hydrated, even if you are not thirsty.
  • Spray your body with water, wear a damp shirt, take a cool shower or bath or sit with part of your body in water to cool down. 
  • Take it easy, especially during the hottest hours of the day. 
  • Stay in the shade and use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or more.
  • Take immediate action to cool down if you are overheating. Signs of overheating include feeling unwell, headache and dizziness. Overheating can lead to heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
  • Signs of heat exhaustion include heavy sweating, severe headache, muscle cramps, extreme thirst and dark urine. If you are experiencing these symptoms, you should seek a cooler environment, drink plenty of water, rest and use water to cool your body. 
  • Signs of heat stroke include loss of consciousness, disorientation, confusion, severe nausea or vomiting and very dark urine or no urine. Heat stroke is a medical emergency.

In the event of a medical emergency, call 911. However, it is important to use 911 responsibly to avoid overwhelming the system. 

MapleLine Business Centre, printing, west shore

When to call 911:

  • In cases of heat stroke: loss of consciousness, disorientation, confusion, severe nausea or vomiting or very dark urine or no urine.
  • In general: when there is chest pain, difficulty breathing, loss of consciousness, severe burns, choking, convulsions that are not stopping, a drowning, a severe allergic reaction, a head injury, signs of a stroke or a major trauma.

If you have a less urgent health issue:

  • You can call HealthLinkBC at 811 and speak with a nurse or go to an urgent care centre or clinic if you can do so safely. That way, our emergency medical dispatch staff and paramedics will be available for people who need their services the most.
  • There are also online tools at healthlinkbc.ca, including a “Check Your Symptoms” tool.  

More information can be found on Island Health’s Heat Safety page.