We are all only too aware of the effects of climate change when it comes to more than ever before of those uncomfortably hot summer days, with record-breaking temperatures day and night.

Research suggests Southwestern Ontario experienced a rise of 22 per cent in visits to the emergency room during periods of extreme heat between 2002 and 2019.

Last year saw a severe heatwave, wildfires and extreme drought and so far, this summer is proving a similar challenge. Heat warning measures vary depending on where in Canada you live, but it is important to take all sensible precautions possible to avoid heat exhaustion, heat stroke and dehydration.

Here at Stiltz Home Elevators, the team has put together a few ways to help make a difference in your home.

Use fans well

Using even a small fan is beneficial, even when it is humid, as it encourages the evaporation of sweat and makes it easier for your body to regulate your internal temperature.

Some of us may have fans in our homes, but the key thing is to make the most of them directing the cool air. Try to position them in front of an open door where cool air enters the home. Or place a large bowl of ice in front of the fan to ensure that the fan is not just pushing the existing air around but pushing cooler air towards where you need it.

When the air outside is cooler than that inside, do what you can to encourage a flow of air through your home.

Keep the worst of the heat out

On the hottest days, even in the mid-morning and mid-evenings it can still be considerably warmer outdoors than in. Draw the drapes, blinds or shutters during the day to keep the direct heat out, especially in any areas of direct sun and only open windows and doors once it is genuinely cooler, for example at night before you go to bed. Keep them open in the early morning while it remains cooler outside, the cool air can really make a difference to ridding the house of the heat built up overnight.

In some cases, keeping the doors to your hallway closed can help ensure you have one comfortably cool area in the centre of your home when the weather is hot.

Avoid using appliances

If possible, avoid using ovens and even air fryers or crockpots which will add to the heat levels at home., Instead, enjoy cold foods, or cook once before the really warm spell gets going and then give yourself some cold cuts to enjoy with salads or prep some meals that can be quickly microwaved to see you through the next few days.

Keep clothing and sheets light

Lighter colours will help reflect the heat, so choose to wear light coloured clothes and airy fabrics, such as cotton or linen. The same applies to sheets, thin cotton sheets are the best choice, as they will absorb sweat but not be stifling like your regular covers.

A cool bath or shower before bed can help you fall asleep more comfortably when it is warm, and one Australian top tip is to sleep in a dampened vest top or refrigerate your pyjamas and also use a regular hot water bottle, filled with icy cold water to help get you through the night.

Care for your pets too

Just as with young children, seeing pets struggle with the heat can be distressing. It is recommended to always think about where you are leaving them when you have to go out, make sure they have water readily available at all times. Place a damp towel on the floor for the dog to relax on, or even try rinsing their paws in cool water to help them feel a little more comfortable. Cats may enjoy having a couple of ice cubes to play with, but otherwise encourage them to relax as an active cat can quickly become exhausted and dehydrated. Smaller animals such as rabbits can benefit from a frozen water bottle placed in their enclosures, which should be kept in shade.