Working in The Heat: Signs and Symptoms

Everyone looks forward to the summer after the frigid conditions we experience in Canada. The beautiful weather and the leisure time brings the best out of people, however, the summer months can also bring on heat-related illnesses. These include anything from dehydration, nausea and fatigue to the rare, but more serious, heat stroke. It is common for temperatures to rise in certain workplaces, particularly outdoor professions or where there is heat-generating equipment. This makes it difficult to complete tasks comfortably or adequately. For that reason, it is vital to be aware of the various heat-related signs and symptoms to help you stay protected!

Here is what you should look for:

Heat Cramps:

Heat cramps are painful, brief muscle cramps. Muscles may spasm or jerk involuntarily typically in your calves, thighs, and shoulders. Heat cramps can occur during exercise or work in a hot environment.

Symptoms of Heat Cramps- Muscle spasms that are:

  • Painful
  • Involuntary
  • Brief
  • Intermittent
  • Usually self-limited (go away on their own)

Treatment for Heat Cramps:

  • Rest in a cool place
  • Drink cold water or a sports drink that contains electrolytes and salt

Heat Exhaustion:

Heat exhaustion is a heat-related illness that can occur after you’ve been exposed to high temperatures and it often is accompanied by dehydration. There are two kinds of heat exhaustion that you need to be aware of including water depletion and salt depletion. Signs of water depletion include excessive thirst, weakness, headache, and loss of consciousness. Signs of salt depletion include nausea and vomiting, muscle cramps, and dizziness.

Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion:

  • Confusion
  • Dark-coloured urine (a sign of dehydration)
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Muscle or abdominal cramps
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Pale skin
  • Profuse sweating
  • Rapid heartbeat

Treatment for Heat Exhaustion:

  • Get out of the heat and avoid it
  • Drink plenty of water or fluids that contain electrolytes and salt
  • Remove any tight or unnecessary clothing
  • Take a cool shower, bath, or sponge bath
  • Apply other cooling measures such as fans or ice towels

Heat Stroke:

Heat stroke is the most severe form of heat injury that often occurs as a progression from milder heat-related illnesses, however, it can strike even if you have no previous signs of heat injury. Heat stroke results from prolonged exposure to high temperatures – usually in combination with dehydration – which leads to failure of the body’s temperature control system. The medical definition of heat stroke is a core body temperature greater than 104 degrees fahrenheit, with complications involving the central nervous system.

Symptoms of Heat Stroke:

  • Disorientation
  • Throbbing headache
  • Dizziness and light-headedness
  • Lack of sweating despite the heat
  • Red, hot, and dry skin
  • Muscle weakness or cramps
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Rapid heartbeat, which may be either strong or weak
  • Rapid, shallow breathing
  • Behavioural changes such as confusion, disorientation, or staggering
  • Seizures
  • Unconsciousness

Treatments for Heat Stroke:

  • Fan air over the patient while wetting his or her skin with water from a sponge or garden hose
  • Apply ice packs to the patient’s armpits, groin, neck, and back (These areas are rich with blood vessels that are close to the skin and cooling them may reduce body temperature)
  • Immerse the patient in cool water or ice bath to help cool the body

Protect Yourself:

If you, or anyone else, have any symptoms of heat-related illnesses, it’s essential to immediately get out of the heat, stay hydrated and rest in a cool or shady place. To prevent these injuries from occurring make sure to use a “buddy” system to watch for signs and symptoms of co-workers. If affected, try to avoid hot weather and heavy exercise until your doctor tells you that it’s safe to resume your normal activities!

Things to do in Canada during the Summer

Whether you have the summer off to enjoy endless activities and adventures or are looking for a weekend getaway to do something new, we have a list of many options that are sure to be entertaining and adventurous! Take a look.

Map of Canada with provincial and territory labels.


  1. Roam the lands with the buffalo at Wood Buffalo National Park


  1. Visit the many attractions inside Alberta’s West Edmonton Mall, such as an indoor water park, amusement park and an ice rink


  1. Experience Banff Park and the numerous things to do including heli-hiking, mountain climbing, water activities and horseback riding


  1. Visit the Canadian wild animals at Calgary’s zoo


British Columbia:

  1. Take a railroad journey through the Canadian Rockies


  1. Snorkel in British Columbia’s emerald waters (Snorkel with the Stars)
Burnaby Narrows. Gwaii Haanas, Haida Gwaii, British Columbia, Canada.

Burnaby Narrows. Gwaii Haanas, Haida Gwaii, British Columbia, Canada.

  1. Ride the longest continuous lift system in the world through the Blackcomb Mountains in Whistler


  1. Walk the Capilano Suspension Bridge in Vancouver


  1. Stay overnight in a suspended spherical treehouse on Vancouver Island



  1. Be flown into the depths of nature at Caribou River Park Reserve


  1. Take your chances at the South Beach Casino


  1. Discover more at the Manitoba Museum


New Brunswick:

  1. From body slides, tubing, golf and pools, Magic Mountain offers everything you need for a fun-filled trip


  1. Walk the ocean floor at Hopewell Rocks in New Brunswick


  1. Visit Fundy National Park, one of the most popular tourist locations

Newfoundland and Labrador:

  1. Experience the many outdoor activities including mountain climbing, hiking and sailing at Torngat Mountains National Park


  1. Take a boat tour in Twillingate

  1. Wonder amongst the many plants and flowers at Memorial University of Newfoundland Botanical Garden


NorthWest Territories:

  1. Get to know the NWT culture and heritage at the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Center


  1. View the true northwest by hiking, canoeing/kayaking and camping at Nahanni River


  1. Experience the life of the North by visiting the Northern Life Museum & Cultural Centre


Nova Scotia:

  1. Watch a play at the Neptune Theatre


  1. Treat yourself to Digby Pines golf resort and spa


  1. Take a cruise through the Northwest Passage, High Arctic or Baffin


  1. View Mount Thor from Auyuittuq National Park’s hiking trails


  1. Go on boat tours and hike through Ukkusiksalik National Park

Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus), Ukkusiksalik National Park, Wager Bay, Nunavut, Canada


  1. Experience the wilderness by camping or canoeing at Algonquin Park


  1. Visit Canada’s largest waterpark, Calypso, in Limoges Ontario


  1. Visit Ontario’s capital city, Toronto, and experience endless thrills including:

Climbing to CN towers highest point and hang off the edge with Edge Walk


Going to the Caribiana festival


Exploring the Ripleys Aquarium in Toronto


Riding Canada’s steepest rollercoaster at Canada’s Wonderland


  1. Take the Journey behind the Falls tour in Niagara Falls


Prince Edward Island:

  1. Explore the many outdoor activities including camping and windsurfing at Jacques Cartier Provincial Park


  1. Visit the magical setting of Anne of Green Gables



  1. Go sea kayaking in the Saguenay Fjord


  1. Experience the awe-inspiring Montmorency Falls


  1. Go white water rafting on the Ottawa River



  1. Cycle through the Nut Point Hiking Trail in Lac La Ronge Provincial Park


  1. Travel to the past by visiting the Fort Battleford buildings, which are also rumoured to be haunted!


  1. Stroll amongst the flowers at the Regina Floral Conservatory


  1. Experience the free fall waterslide at Kenosee Superslides



  1. Experience the Tatshenshini Rafting Expiditions


  1. Bathe in Takhini’s Hot Springs


  1. Go Heli-hiking or take a Helicopter tour at Great Northern Heli Sports