Heat

Important message

The person who has at least one symptom related to COVID-19 or who is waiting for a screening test or awaiting a result, who is identified as a case or close contact of a person who has COVID-19 or returning from a trip MUST NOT VISIT INDOOR PUBLIC PLACES TO REFRESH.

Extreme heat during the COVID-19 pandemic

Instruction for people in insolation due to COVID-19 

If the interior temperature of your home becomes too high and the recommended measures to cool down are not sufficient, cases and contacts in isolation may leave their homes to have respite in a cooler place outside, even if the yard is shared or it is necessary to leave the yard to find a shady spot. It is essential that these people respect the following instructions: 

  • Wear a mask or a face cover (if possible, use a medical mask).
  • Wash your hands with lukewarm water and soap for at least 20 seconds after putting on the face cover but before leaving the accommodation.
  • Take a respite from the heat only in a shaded outdoor location such as a park.Keep a distance of at least 2 meters from others at all times.
  • Sanitize your hands with alcool-based sanitizer just before going outside.

Safe use of fans 

Appart from episodes of extreme heat and in the context of a pandemic, it is not recommended to use ventilators since these, if they are near an infected person, can generate an air flow and contribute to disperse expectorated aerosols beyond 2 meters.

However, in a context of extreme heat, or when the temperature inside significantly exceeds comfort parameters, the use of portable air conditioners and electric fans is considered appropriate when used properly, in accordance with the guidelines of the manufacturer, when respecting the /typo3conf/l10n/fr/rtehtmlarea/Resources/Private/Language/fr.locallang_accessibilityicons.xlf:external_link_new_window_altTextbasic health instructions (french only) to avoid the transmission of COVID-19 and in conjunction with passive heat attenuation measures (eg. : maintaining adequate ventilation of the premises, use of curtains, blinds, sun shades; wearing loose, light and clear clothing; hydration by consuming an adequate quantity). 

  • Depending on the devices, use pedestal fans or localized air conditioning (portable, window, split) avoiding directing the outgoing air flow towards people's faces.
  • Direct the air flow towards surfaces such as walls, or install a deflector (adjustable shutter) or a screen in front of the device.
  • Keep the pedestal fans in a fixed position (no oscillation) and keep the airflow speed of the unit at a low level. Ceiling fans should be operated as to generate an upward flow of air.

Tips to make face masks more confortable 

The following recommendations aim to increase comfort for workers or the population in a hot environment:

  • Choose a quality mask that is well suited to the shape and size of the face to reduce discomfort and properly adjust the band around the nose.
  • Promote breathing through the nose, as it generates less heat and moisture trapped in the mask.
  • Change the mask when it gets wet from breathing, sweat or becomes dirty (bring a few spare masks).
  • Choose a quality mask that is well suited to the shape and size of the face to reduce discomfort and properly adjust the band around the nose.
  • Promote breathing through the nose, as it generates less heat and moisture trapped in the mask.
  • Change the mask when it gets wet from breathing, sweat or becomes dirty (bring a few spare masks).

Here are additional recommendations that can improve comfort:

  • Cleanse the face before and after wearing the mask.
  • To prevent discomfort, avoid using creams or lotions that may block the pores of the skin (eg foundation).
  • Spread moisturizer on the skin after wearing the mask.
  • Reduce heat discomfort by cooling the forehead and neck, even when wearing the mask.
  • In an indoor workplace, ensure adequate ventilation and turn on the air conditioning, if necessary.

GROUPS MORE AT RISK FOR HEAT-RELATED PROBLEMS: 

  • People 65 and over (especially those living in places without air conditioning);
  • People playing sports or working outdoors or in environments where the industrial activity produces heat;
  • Infants and young children (0 to 4 years of age);
  • People who live alone and those with reduced autonomy;
  • People with a chronic disease, mental health issue, addiction problem or living in homelessness.


Children 0 to 4

Never leave a child or pet alone in a car or poorly ventilated room, even for a few minutes.

To learn more about the precautions to take for children (0 to 4 years old), read the following document for parents and caregivers (PDF).

 

How can you help those who hare more vulnerable?

  • Check in on them regularly.
  • Make sure they are following the prevention tips and offer to get them help, if need be.

HOW TO PREVENT HEAT-RELATED PROBLEMS? 

Hydrate often

  • Drink plenty of water, without waiting to be thirsty. Follow your doctor's instructions regarding the amount of liquid to drink, if necessary.
  • Avoid drinks that are high in caffeine or alcohol, as they can increase dehydration.
  • For the breastfed baby, offer the breast on demand. For the infant fed commercial infant formula, offer it often. For babies over six months, offer small amounts of water after or between feeds.

Cool off often

  • Take a cool shower or bath as often as needed, or cool your skin with a wet towel several times a day.
  • Spend at least a few hours a day in an air-conditioned or cooler place in your home.
  • Close curtains or blinds when the sun is shining, and ventilate your home if possible when the night is cool.

Protect yourself from the heat and the sun outside

  • Limit physical efforts. For children, limit their strenuous outdoor activities such as endurance sports.
  • Keep babies and young children in the shade.
  • Wear light-colored clothing, sunglasses that protect against UVA and UVB rays, a wide-brimmed hat and sunscreen approved by the Canadian Dermatology Association.
  • Encourage activities before 10 a.m. and after 4 p.m., when the heat is less intense.

To learn more, consult the information leaflet entitled It’s really hot!” (PDF).

Symptoms that require monitoring changes in health

Adults

It is important to monitor any deterioration in the health of an adult who has the following symptoms:

  • Headaches
  • Muscular cramps
  • Swollen hands, feet and ankles
  • Appearance of small red bumps on the skin, called a “heat rash”
  • Unusual fatigue or exhaustion
  • Generalized malaise
  • Signs of dehydration:
    • Intense thirst
    • Less frequent need to urinate
    • Dark urine
    • Dry skin
    • Rapid pulse and breathing

If you have questions about your health, call Info‑Santé 811 or consult a health professional, a pharmacist for instance.

When to consult 

Other symptoms, however, require immediate medical attention, meaning within 2 hours. An adult who has one or more of the following symptoms must be taken to the emergency room immediately or 9‑1‑1 must be called on their behalf:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Convulsions (stiffness of the body and jerky, involuntary muscle contractions)
  • Signs of impaired consciousness:
    • Confusion
    • Unusual behaviour
    • Agitation
    • Hallucinations
    • No response to stimuli
    • Loss of consciousness

  • Signs of heat stroke:
    • Temperature over 39.5 ºC (103.1 ºF) with an oral thermometer or over 40 ºC (104 ºF) with a rectal thermometer
    • Dry, red, hot skin or pale, cold skin
    • Dizziness and vertigo
    • Confused and illogical speech
    • Aggressive or bizarre behaviour
    • Generalized malaise
    • Heat stroke is the most serious effect of heat. It can occur suddenly and quickly lead to death if not treated.

Babies or children

Certain symptoms may indicate the presence of heat-related complications:

  • Dry skin, lips or mouth
  • Abnormal skin colour (red or pale)
  • Headaches
  • Sunken eyes with dark rings
  • Dark and smaller quantity of urine
  • Vomiting, diarrhea
  • Unusual restlessness, irritability or confusion
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Drowsiness, prolonged sleep and difficulty waking up
  • Body temperature over 38.5ºC (101.3ºF) with a rectal thermometer or over 37.5ºC (99.5ºF) with an oral thermometer (Note: Using an oral thermometer to take the temperature of newborns, babies and children under 5 years old is not recommended.)

When to consult

A child’s health, especially a very young child, can deteriorate quickly and be difficult to notice. When a baby or child shows symptoms, a medical consultation is usually necessary. If you are unsure, you can call Info‑Santé 811. In an emergency, call 9‑1‑1