Battling the Heat in British Columbia

Where most of the heat happens, probably to no surprise of the residents who live there, is British Columbia. During the summer, temperatures can reach as high as 30°C. For those who are not used to living in such temperatures in Canada, the experience can be rather overwhelming.

With June just around the corner, it’s important to remind yourself of ways to combat the heat both inside and outside of the home.

1. Inspect your air conditioning unit

It’s something that might get overlooked in BC, where temperatures can drastically change throughout the year. But making sure that your AC unit is properly functioning is critical for a variety of reasons, including more energy use (and higher bills as a result) if the unit is not performing at its maximum capacity.

Although it’ll mean some money out of your pocket, it is recommended that you get your AC unit inspected by a professional at least once a year.

2. Hydration

Water. We know we should drink more of it, but few of us actually heed our own advice. While each person has different needs depending on their body and overall lifestyle, it’s definitely a good idea to up your intake as the temperatures begin to rise in BC.

If you’re going for a bike ride or just a stroll through Vancouver’s Stanley Park or Queen Elizabeth Park on a summer day, have some sort of hydration vessel with you, and know the signs of dehydration.

  • Tiredness/dizziness
  • Dry skin
  • Headache
  • Cramps

In more extreme cases, dehydration can lead to confusion, rapid heartbeat, and fever.

If you are feeling energetic and keep sweating in the heat, it’s a sign that you’re probably good with hydration. Over-hydration can be just as dangerous, if not worse than dehydration. Know what you need when you need it.

3. Wear loose, light-coloured clothing

This goes back to early grade school science: darker colours absorb more heat. Clothing is no exception. On hotter days, making sure that you and your family have loose-fitting, light-coloured clothing is an important way to battle the heat. The lighter weight the material, the better as well.

4. Give special attention to the elderly

As the body gets older, it doesn’t respond to heat as easily and as readily as it does for younger people. Apart from an aging body, elderly people may be taking medications that can interfere with body temperature regulation.

This is why it’s important for family members and friends to keep a close watch on the elderly. Those in care should encourage regular intake of hydrating fluids.

If the elderly live on their own, it’s also important to make sure that their AC unit is properly functioning, and that their air filters have been replaced. Make it a point to ask them when the last time such appliances have been inspected.

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