Canadian Environmental Health Atlas

Understanding Our Environment is Key to Promoting Health and Preventing Disease

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Key Points

Heat Waves

• A heat wave is a period of high temperatures that can cause illness and death.

• Climate change is predicted to make heat waves longer, occur more frequently, and be more intense.

• Infants, seniors, people with heart or lung problems, and people who are economically disadvantaged, live in substandard housing, or do not have access to air conditioning are especially vulnerable to heat waves.

• People living in cities often experience more heat-related illness than people in rural areas because of the high-rises, older multi-family dwellings, and urban
heat islands common in cities.

• Some communities are conducting heat vulnerability assessments to identify areas where residents who may be at risk during a heat wave and setting up heat alert and response systems.