Keep Your Cool in Hot Weather
Getting too hot can make you sick. You can become ill from the heat if your body can't compensate for it and properly cool you off. Heat exposure can even kill you: it caused 7,233 heat-related deaths in the United States from 1999 to 2009.
These are the main things affecting your body's ability to cool itself during extremely hot weather:
- High humidity. When the humidity is high, sweat won't evaporate as quickly, which keeps your body from releasing heat as fast as it may need to.
- Personal factors. Age, obesity, fever, dehydration, heart disease, mental illness, poor circulation, sunburn, and prescription drug and alcohol use can play a role in whether a person can cool off enough in very hot weather.
Here are some facts about which people are at greatest risk for heat-related illness and what protective actions to take to prevent illness or death:
- People who are at highest risk are the elderly, the very young, and people with chronic diseases or mental illness.
- But even young and healthy people can get sick from the heat if they participate in strenuous physical activities during hot weather.
- Air-conditioning is the number one protective factor against heat-related illness and death. If a home is not air-conditioned, people can reduce their risk for heat-related illness by spending time in public facilities that are air-conditioned.
You can take these steps to prevent heat-related illnesses, injuries, and deaths during hot weather:
- Stay in an air-conditioned indoor location as much as possible.
- Drink plenty of fluids even if you don’t feel thirsty.
- Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing and sunscreen.
- Schedule outdoor activities carefully.
- Pace yourself.
- Take cool showers or baths to cool down.
- Check on a friend or neighbor and have someone do the same for you.
- Do not leave children or pets in cars.
- Check the local news for health and safety updates.
- Beat the Heat (When Working Outdoors) [PODCAST - 5:30 minutes]
- How to Stay Cool in Extreme Heat
- Extreme Heat and Your Health
- Warning Signs and Symptoms of Heat-Related Illness
- Frequently Asked Questions about Extreme Heat
- Heat and Athletes
- Heat Stress in the Elderly
- Downloadable Extreme Heat Media Toolkit
CDC works 24/7 saving lives and protecting people from health threats to have a more secure nation. A US federal agency, CDC helps make the healthy choice the easy choice by putting science and prevention into action. CDC works to help people live longer, healthier and more productive lives.
Get email updates
To receive email updates about this page, enter your email address:
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
1600 Clifton Rd
Atlanta, GA 30333
TTY: (888) 232-6348
- Contact CDC-INFO