UV index, heat and wind chill products
UV Index poster and wallet card
Documents describing Canada's UV Index. It includes sun safety tips and a chart with sun safety advice for different UV Index values.
UV Index - text version
The UV Index
Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) developed the UV Index to inform Canadians about the strength of the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays. UV rays can cause sunburns, eye cataracts, skin aging and skin cancer. The higher the UV Index number, the stronger the sun's rays, and the greater the need to take precautions.
The table below outlines the sun protection actions recommended at different levels of the UV Index.
|UV Index||Description||Sun protection actions|
Minimal sun protection required – for normal activity.|
Wear sunglasses on bright days. If outside for more than one hour, cover up and use sunscreen.
Reflection off snow can nearly double UV strength. Wear sunglasses and apply sunscreen.
Take precautions – cover up, wear a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen – especially if you will be outside for 30 minutes or more.|
Look for shade near midday when the sun is strongest.
Protection required – UV damages the skin and can cause sunburn.|
Reduce time in the sun between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., and take full precautions – seek shade, cover up, wear a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen.
Extra precautions required – unprotected skin will be damaged and can burn quickly.|
Avoid the sun between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., and take full precautions – seek shade, cover up, wear a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen.
Take full precautions – unprotected skin will be damaged and can burn in minutes. Avoid the sun between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., cover up, wear a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen.|
Values of 11 or more are very rare in Canada. However, the UV Index can reach 14 or more in the tropics and southern U.S.
White sand and other bright surfaces reflect UV and increase UV exposure.
Protect your skin
When the UV Index is 3 or higher, protect your skin as much as possible. In general, the UV Index in Canada can be 3 or higher from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. between April and September, even when it’s cloudy.
- Seek shade or bring your own (e.g., an umbrella).
- Wear clothing that covers as much skin as possible and a wide-brimmed hat
- Wear sunglasses or eyeglasses with UV protective lenses.
- Use sunscreen labelled “broad spectrum” and “water resistant” with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30. Apply sunscreen generously and reapply often.
- Avoid getting a sunburn and avoid intentional tanning.
- Listen for Environment and Climate change Canada’s UV Index – it’s included in your local weather forecast whenever it is forecast to reach 1 or more that day.
For information regarding reproduction rights, please contact Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Public Inquiries Centre at 1-800-668-6767 (in Canada only) or 819-997-2800 or email to email@example.com
Photos: © Environment and Climate Change Canada © Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, 2021
UV Index infographic: what UV rays can cause
These colourful wall-sized infographics are a quick reference to the possible health effects of UV rays exposure. Included is a brief description of the UV Index, exposure risks chart and website information. Available in English or French.
Download the PDF:
UV Infographic - text version
UV Infographic - text version
What UV rays can cause
- Weakening of the immune system
- Eye cataracts
- Skin aging
- Skin cancer
|Exposure category||UV Index|
The UV index measures the strength of the sun's rays. The higher the Index
number, greater is the need to take sun safety precautions.
Keep children cool! Protect your child from extreme heat
You're active in the heat. You're at risk! Protect yourself from extreme heat
It's much too hot! Protect yourself from extreme heat
Wind Chill poster and wallet card
Documents describing Canada's Wind Chill Index. It includes sun safety tips and a chart with sun safety advice for different UV Index values.
Wind Chill - text version
Canada's Wind Chill Index
Helping you Deal with the Cold You Feel
The cooling sensation caused by the combined effect of temperature and wind is called wind chill. The wind chill index is not actually a real temperature but, rather, represent the feeling of cold on your skin and is expressed in temperature-like units. Exposed skin at very cold wind chills can freeze in only minutes. The best way to avoid the hazards of wind chill is to check the weather forecast before going outside and to be prepared by dressing warmly. The risk of frostbite increases rapidly when wind chill values go below -27.
Seven Steps to Cold Weather Safety
- Check the weather forecast before planning outdoor activities.
- Dress in layers with a wind resistant ourer layer, wear a hat, mittens, scarf or face mask, and insulated, waterproof footwear. When it is very cold, or when the wind chill is significant, cover as much exposed skin as possible. Your body's extremities, such as the ears, nose, fingers and toes, lose heat the fastest.
- Limit your time outdoors when it is very cold or when the wind chill is significant.
- Seek shelter - get out of the wind
- Stay dry - wet clothing chills the body rapidly.
- Keep active to stay warmer - walking or running will help warm you by generating body heat.
- Watch for signs of frostbite - numbess and white patches on skin. Some people are more susceptible to the cold - particularly children, the elderly and those with circulation problems.
|Wind Speed (km/h)||0||-5||-10||-15||-20||-25||-30||-35||-40||-45||-50|
- 0 to -9, Low risk of frostbite
- -10 to -27, Moderate Risk
- -28 to -39, High risk in 30 minutes of exposure
- -40 to -47, Very high risk in 5 to 10 minutes of exposure
- -48 to -54, Severe risk in 2 to 5 minutes of exposure
- -55 and colder, Extreme risk in 2 minutes or less exposure
Wind Chill infographic: the chilling facts
Wind Chill infographic - text version
Wind Chill: The Chilling Facts
On a calm day, our bodies insulate us from the outside temperature by warming up a thin layer of air close to our skin, known as the boundary layer.
When the wind blows, it takes the boundary layer away, exposing our skin to the outside air. It takes energy for our bodies to warm up a new layer. If each layer keeps being blown away, our skin temperature will drop and we feel colder.
Good quality clothing with high insulating properties traps air, creating a thicker boundary layer around the body which keeps in the heat.
Wind Chill fact sheet
This six-page factsheet describes Canada's Wind Chill Index. It includes information on cold weather safety, injuries caused by exposure to the cold and a chart with information on health hazards and safety advice for different wind chill values.
Cold injuries - text version
Watch for signs of cold injuries - text version
Hypothermia can progress to a life-threatening condition. Shivering, confusion, unconsciousness and loss of muscular control can occur.
Actions to take
- Get the person indoors.
- Have the person lie down as soon as possible.
- Remove any wet clothing.
- Insulate well (for example, wrap in a sleeping bag).
- Get medical help immediately.
- Do not put the person in a warm bath.
There is no sensation. Skin is hard to the touch. Skin can appear white and waxy on light and medium skin tones. Frostbite does not normally change the appearance of darker skin tones.
Actions to take
- Get medical help immediately. Frostbite can lead to amputation.
- Warm the area with body heat (armpit or chest), or warm water (like a warm bath).
- Ensure the affected area stays warm.
- Do not rub or massage the area or thaw over a fire.
The affected area is painful or numb. Skin can appear yellowish or white on light and medium skin tones but feels soft to the touch. Frostnip does not normally change the appearance of darker skin tones.
Actions to take
- Warm the area with body heat (a warm hand) or warm water (like a warm bath).
- Do not rub or massage the area.
Weather Wise infographic - text version
Achoo! Make sure to check the weather forecast before heading out! #WeatherWise.
Image of a person not dressed appropriately for the weather.
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