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A Living Crip Sheet on Heat

We wish this was an air conditioner. Unfortunately all we can offer is some information. But what’s different about this site from many others is that it is written as if disabled people, children, elders, workers and others exist and matter. Because we do. 


This information is written from the perspective that…


  1. Disability and aging are part of the human condition.

  2. People have a right to understand their bodies and that doing so helps us make the best decisions that are right for us.

  3. There’s more to talking about health and hot weather than listing the symptoms of heat stroke.

  4. Factors that expose some of us to increased risk are the “pre-existing” inequities and injustices of our society. These create the greatest risks to human health in heat and otherwise. 

Just the act of cooling - or attempting to - during heat is work for our bodies. For those of us with chronic conditions the additional work the body must do to attempt to cool can worsen chronic conditions and escalate those to emergencies. 


Also the heat doesn’t have to be extreme. “In Ontario, each 5°C change in daily temperature was associated with approximately seven more non-accidental deaths per day in winter and about four more non-accidental deaths per day in summer.”

indirect impacts of heat and direct impacts of heat, each with 3 sections each. Under the indirect impacts are: a red cross with an exclamation mark inside, next to “Impact on health services: increased ambulance calls and slower response times, increased hospital admissions, storage of heat-sensitive medicines” /an arrow pointing up with a skull inside, next to “increased risk of accidents: increased risk of drowning, increased risk of work-related accidents, increased risk of injuries and poisonings” /an arrow pointing up with a black to red gradient, next to “increased transmission risks: increased of food and waterborne diseases, increased marine algal blooms”. in the column for direct impacts of heat, are: a thermometer showing that it’s very hot, next to “heat illness: dehydration, heat cramps, heat stroke / a heat with a skull inside, next to “accelerated death due to: respiratory disease, cardiovascular disease,mental illness,renal disease,or strokes,for mental health condition

This site is being prepared by Gabrielle Peters, Sunny Chiu, and Zahra Jaffer. Iva Cheung wrote the section about the cognitive effect of heat.


Dr. John Neary and Dr. Jennifer Baumbusch provided guidance. We will continue working on it in real time so you may catch us editing while you are reading.

This is not medical advice.


Throughout this document there is periodic mention of how something might impact a disabled person with a specific condition. Please understand the list will not be comprehensive. If you do not see your illness or condition mentioned, it does not mean it is not significant.


At the end of the information section of this document there is a Me and Heat Worksheet you can use to create your own heat risk assessment. You can share with friends, family, neighbours, housing operators, health care professionals or just keep if for yourself.

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