Heat safety and precautions for high temperatures

Extreme heat events can occur in Nova Scotia, typically between July and September, and are characterized by temperatures remaining high during the day and night for several consecutive days.

During extreme heat events people are at risk of overheating or other heat-related illnesses. Temperatures may also be hotter in tall structures (like apartment and office towers) and in direct sunlight. Everyone should take precautions when temperatures rise.

Resources and links

Mitigating heat illnesses and impacts of extreme heat events

The following precautions may help mitigate impacts of extreme heat:

  • Dress appropriately and wear sunscreen. Be sure to wear a hat and loose layers of light-coloured clothing. 
  • Stay hydrated. Have lots of cool drinks available and be sure to drink before you feel thirsty. Hydrating foods are also helpful. Stay away from sugar and alcoholic drinks as these can dehydrate you.
  • Keep cool. Stay indoors and avoid physical exertion during extreme heat events. If you plan to spend time outdoors, or will be working outdoors, take breaks from the sun by spending time in a cool place such as a tree-shaded area or an airconditioned space - including public libraries or recreation facilities such as pools or splashpads. Schedule your outdoor activities carefully and try to keep them limited to early mornings and evening hours when it is cooler.
  • Draw curtains at home during peak hours and use a fan or air conditioner. Drawing curtains helps avoid passively heating your home. 
  • Frequently visit neighbours, friends, and older family members, especially those who are chronically ill, to ensure they are cool and hydrated. Infants, young children and other high-risk individuals need frequent watching.
  • Keep your pets hydrated and in a shady area.

What to watch for

People who are most at risk during extreme heat events are seniors, infants and people with health conditions. Things to watch for during extreme heat events include:

  • Dehydration
  • Symptoms of heat illness including fainting, nausea, dizziness, rapid breathing, extreme thirst
  • Sunburn and/or heat rash (red bumps on the skin)
  • Overheating which can lead to heat exhaustion and heat stroke
    • Symptoms include headache, muscle cramps, dizziness, confusion, fainting
    • Heat stroke requires emergency medical attention and can cause death
two outside workers in safety vests and hard hats drinking water to stay cool during extreme heat. Text reads Working outdoors? Drink two to four cups of water every hour.