How to Stay Happy (and Healthy) During a Heat Wave

Posted on June 29th, 2021

Amid this record heat wave and with many seniors and families affected, have you checked in with the seniors in your life?

The last time many places in North America saw temperatures like this, our grandparents were kids and teens. (Maybe they remember!)

For us here at Optima Living in particular — serving communities in Western Canada, and feeling connected to our friends and neighbours in the U.S. Pacific Northwest — the weather is the news, and the news has been scary.

The guiding light we live by is “Let us welcome you home,” and our home is hot.

Like the pandemic, that means it’s time to take care of each other, check-in on our elders, and share what we know — from both science and years of experience — about how to stay cool, and stay healthy, in a heat wave.

  1. 1. Hydrate: It may seem simple, but upping your intake of liquids as temperatures rise will keep your body hydrated. Drink before you feel thirsty, as thirst is the body’s way of telling us we’re already dehydrated. Try to avoid consuming caffeinated or alcoholic beverages, as they can increase water loss in the body, and instead opt for more hydrating refreshments such as fresh-squeezed juices, seltzers, and pure water (the best option).

  2. 2. Stay cool: Cooling centres are your friend. Take the opportunity to visit a local library or shopping centre to stay cool. Wearing lightweight materials, such as linen or cotton, will also help your body dissipate heat. A cool bath or shower is another refreshing way to cool off.

  3. 3. Avoid direct sunlight: Stay indoors as much as possible during the hottest parts of the day. Try to avoid direct sunlight from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., but during extreme heat, waiting until later afternoon or evening is ideal. Limit your outdoor activity to early morning or evening to avoid the hot sun and high daytime temperatures. If you do have to be outdoors, cover your head and always wear sunscreen of at least 30 SPF.

  4. 4. Be mindful: Stay aware of both outdoor and indoor temperatures and be mindful of how your body feels. If you start to experience muscle cramps, nausea, dizziness, headaches, rapid heartbeat, or excessive sweating, call 911.

We encourage you to enjoy the warmer temperatures, but with caution. If you would like more resources for staying safe during the heatwave and throughout the summer, please visit the following resource by clicking on the links:

• Health Canada
• HealthLink BC
• Canada Red Cross
• Alberta Health Services