Extreme heat is the deadliest weather-related hazard in the United States. Heat-related illnesses occur when the body heats up faster than it can cool itself down. It is important to know what to do to protect yourself and those around you, because heat-related illness are preventable.
People at Heightened Risk of Heat Illness
Although anyone at any time can suffer from heat-related illness, some people are at greater risk than others.
- Infants and young children
- People 65 years of age or older
- People who are overweight
- People who overexert during work or exercise
- People who are physically ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure, or who take certain medications, such as for depression, insomnia, or poor circulation
Check in on and assist those who are vulnerable or at higher risk, such as those who are elderly, ill, or may need help. If you do need help arrange to have a family, friends or neighbors check in with you at least twice a day.
Tips to Beat the Heat
- Drink Plenty of Fluids: Drink more fluids, regardless of how active you are. Don't wait until you are thirsty to drink.
- Avoid beverages that contain alcohol, caffeine, or a lot of sugar - these actually cause to yo lose more body fluid. Also avoid very cold drinks as they can cause stomach cramps.
- Keep Your Pets Hydrated: Provide plenty of fresh water for your pets, and leave the water in a shady area. Beware of asphalt that can burn their paws.
- Wear Appropriate Clothing: Choosing lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
- Stay Cool Indoors: Stay in air-conditioned places as much as possible. If you do not have air-conditioning seek relief from the heat by visiting friends, relatives or public places with air-conditioning, but remember to take appropriate COVID precautions. Even a few hours spent in air-conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat.
- Don't rely on a fan as your cooling source. Electric fans may provide comfort, but they won't prevent heat-related illness when temperatures are very hot.
- Schedule Outdoor Activities Carefully: Try to limit your outdoor activity to the coolest parts of the day, like morning and evening. Find shady areas to rest so that your body has a chance to recover.
- Wear Sunscreen: Sunburn affects your body's ability to cool down and can make you dehydrated. If you must go outside, protect yourself from the sun by wearing a hat, sunglasses, and by putting on sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher 30 minutes prior to going out. Continue to reapply according to the package directions.
- Tip: Look for sunscreens that say "broad spectrum" or "UVA/UVB protection" on their labels- these products work best.
- Do Not Leave Children or Pets in Cars: Cars can quickly heat up to dangerous temperatures, even with a window cracked open. While anyone left in a parked car is at risk, children are especially at risk of getting a heat stroke or dying. When traveling with children, remember to do the following.
- Never leave infants, children or pets in a parked car, even if the windows are cracked open.
- To remind yourself that a child is in the car, keep a stuffed animal in the car seat. When the child is buckled in, place the stuffed animal in the front with the driver.
- When leaving your car, check to be sure everyone is out of the car. Do not overlook any children who have fallen asleep in the car.
- Avoid Hot and Heavy Meals: Eat more frequently, but ensure meals are balanced and light.