Great Heat

During the summer, temperatures can occasionally reach levels much higher than those normally experienced in Nunavik.

Are you or a loved one not feeling well? Call Info-Santé at 811, option 1.

Stay informed of advisories from local authorities on extreme heat.

Effects on health

During periods of great heat, all Nunavimmiut are at risk, regardless of age or health condition. The people most vulnerable to heat are:

  •  Infants and young children
  • Pregnant women
  • Elders
  • People with heart, lung, kidney, or neurological diseases
  • People struggling with mental health issues or an addiction to alcohol or drugs
  • People working outside or engaging in intense physical activity outdoors.

Some people may experience:

  • exhaustion (fatigue)
  • dehydration (dry mouth)
  • redness and/or bruising on the skin
  • nausea and/or vomiting
  • headaches
  • dizziness

If you or your loved ones experience any of these symptoms, find a cool place immediately and drink water.

Call Info-Santé at 811, option 1, if some symptoms persist or worsen.

However, some signs may be more serious and require medical evaluation. GO TO YOUR CLSC IMMEDIATELY IF YOU OR YOUR RELATIVES:

  • have a fever
  • are in a state of confusion
  • faint.

What should be done during an episode of great heat?

  • Drink plenty of water. Don't wait until you're thirsty (unless your healthcare professional has restricted your water intake)

  • Avoid consuming alcoholic beverages, as alcohol can make dehydration worse;

  • Cool off often:
    • take a cool shower or bath as often as needed;
    • Cool your skin with a wet towel several times a day. For example, apply cold damp cloths to the face, arms and neck, and spray cold water on the face;
  • Avoid physical exercise;
  • Stay in the shade, wear light clothing and a hat;
  • Close curtains or blinds when the sun is shining; find a cool place if possible;
  • Update your loved ones and do not hesitate to ask for help during extreme heat waves:
  • People more vulnerable should regularly invite their relatives over (family, neighbors, friends)
  • Relatives of seniors, people with reduced autonomy or people living alone should visit them regularly.
Never leave a child in a car or a poorly ventilated room, even for a few minutes.

For people who must be outside (for work, travel, or any outdoor task):

  • Limit your outside activity (postpone non-essential tasks to a later date, or reduce them as much as possible);
  • Take some breaks indoors.

Notice to workers

General recommendations also apply to workers.

The CNESST encourages you to apply the following preventive measures, even if the risk level is low:

  • As the temperature increases, you must:
    • adjust the pace of your work ;
    • take breaks more often, preferably in the shade or in a cool place.
  • Drink plenty of fresh water, even if you're not thirsty (at least 250 ml every 20 minutes, and a maximum of 1.5L every hour).
  • Wear light, pale clothing, preferably cotton, to favor the evaporation of sweat.
  • Cover your head to work outside;
  • Dizziness? Light-headedness? Unusual fatigue? Stop working immediately and notify the first-aid attendant and your supervisor. These symptoms could be the first signs of heatstroke;
  • Be extra careful if you are taking medication, have any health problems or have recently been ill (diarrhea, fever, vomiting);
  • Immediately report any unusual behavior displayed by a colleague (incoherent speech, loss of balance, loss of consciousness, etc.) to the first-aid attendant and your supervisor.
  • See this guide: Travailler à la chaleur... Attention! - 4e édition ( (in French only)

Source: Commission des normes du travail, de l’équité salariale ou et la sécurité au travail (CNESST)

Any time you feel there's a heat-related risk, talk to your supervisor. Together, you can find ways to protect your health!

Stay informed

Stay informed by listening to the radio, checking the Facebook page of your community and that of the NRBHSS, or contacting local authorities.

Wildfires and air quality

In case of smoke in addition to great heat, see this page.

If the temperature inside is too high, you can temporarily open the windows during the coolest part of the day (usually at night) to reach a tolerable temperature (< 31°C), even if there is smoke.


Psychological support

If needed, psychosocial help is available from your CLSC.


For more information, see the fact sheet It's really hot! (

To learn more about precautions for children, consult the following fact sheet: It's really hot! precautions to take for childrens (

See also: What to do when it's really hot?