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What is the link between extreme temperatures and climate change?

The frequency with which extreme heat events occur is increasing. Additionally, the severity and duration of these events is also increasing. Despite the warming, record cold temperatures have been recorded during this time in certain locations.

Changes in temperature can also affect local/regional weather systems. Precipitation patterns, wind and storm patterns, and food growing seasons are all dependent on weather. As a result of changing weather patterns and extreme temperatures, there is an increased risk of  drought, flooding, wildfires, and storms – affecting air quality, water and food security, and insect pathogens.

How do changes in temperature affect our health?

More frequent, more intense and longer-lasting heat events can create conditions that can negatively impact your health. High heat events can increase the levels of pollens and allergens in the air that can trigger asthma, and worsen pre-existing respiratory and cardiovascular illnesses. Prolonged exposure to high heat can cause heat exhaustion, heat cramps, dehydration, fainting, and heat stroke, known collectively as heat-related illness. Those most at risk of these illnesses are infants, children, seniors, and those who spend a lot of time outside (work or play) during hot weather.

What is Interior Health doing to help?

To reduce the effects of temperature-related issues in our workplaces, Interior Health facility temperatures are controlled to be comfortable for staff and patients. During extreme heat events, our Medical Health Officers may release information about the risks of exposure to high temperatures, and provide tips to stay safe.

A Heat Alert & Response Planning Toolkit for Interior BC Communities has been developed to provide community partners practical information and resources that will assist them in developing and implementing systems and strategies to respond to extreme heat.


MoH     PCQO