Just in time for Canada Day, large swaths of the country experiencing what Environment Canada calls the “most significant heat event in the past few years.”

With the weather agency warning of “extreme heat” all weekend for much of Ontario and Quebec, as well as special weather statements in place for much of Atlantic Canada, many are concerned that the weather will make outdoor plans for Canada day unsafe.

But Dr. Nadia Alam, president of the Ontario Medical Association, says that the two aren’t mutually exclusive.

“You can be outside, you can enjoy the activities and festivities and be safe at the same time, Dr. Alam told CTV News Channel.

With the holiday long weekend already in full swing, CTV News spoke with medical experts for their top three tips to stay cool and safe.

Know who’s at risk

With a variety of health risks, ranging from heat rash and sunburns to heat stroke, it’s important to be aware – especially for young children, seniors and people with pre-existing medical conditions.

“Children and elderly people are not very good at regulating their body temperatures to begin with,” Dr. Alam said. “So for those special populations you have to watch them extra carefully. “

Watch for symptoms

Being aware of the signs of heat-related illness is the best way to avoid heat exposure turning into something far more dangerous.

“Prevention is worth a pound of cure here,” Dr. Alam said “The biggest thing people can do is pay attention.”

Environment Canada says that the symptoms of heat illness include swelling, rashes, cramps, and fainting, while racing heartbeat, nausea, and vomiting are also things to watch out for.

If any of these symptoms manifest themselves, the situation should be treated as a medical emergency, and the affected person should immediately be moved into the shade, sat down and given water.

Know how to beat the heat

Dr, Eileen de Villa, medical officer of health for the City of Toronto, told CTV News Channel that the key to staying safe is limiting exposure to the heat.

She recommends avoiding being outdoors during the hottest part of the day, scheduling activities that require you to be outside in the morning or in the evening and to avoid the sun at its hottest.

Other tips to prevent heat stroke include staying hydrated, avoiding alcohol and taking advantage of air conditioned spaces available such as malls, libraries and city-run cooling centres.