Protect Yourself From the Dangers of Extreme Heat

The effects of rising temperatures and extreme heat result in numerous illnesses and deaths each year.

For many people, warm weather is a time for fun-filled outdoor activities. However, hot weather and outdoor activities don’t always mix well, especially during periods of extreme heat— times when temperatures are substantially hotter and/or more humid than average for a location and date.

Extreme heat can cause people to suffer from heat-related illness, and even death. People suffer heat-related illness when their bodies are unable to properly cool themselves. Older adults, young children, and people with chronic medical conditions are at high risk for heat-related illness and death. More than 700 people die from extreme heat every year in the United States.

Warmer temperatures can mean higher ozone levels. Pay attention to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Air Quality Indexexternal icon when planning outdoor summer activities, especially if you have asthma or another lung disease.

Track extreme heat in your area. The CDC Heat & Health Tracker provides local heat and health information so communities can better prepare for and respond to extreme heat events. You can use it to explore how extreme heat affects your county, populations that are at risk, and resources for response.

Contact Information

NCEH/ATSDR Office of Communication
(770) 488-0700

When temperatures are extremely high, take steps to protect yourself and your loved ones:
  • Stay in an air-conditioned indoor location as much as you can.
  • Drink plenty of fluids even if you don’t feel thirsty.
  • Schedule outdoor activities carefully.
    • Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing and sunscreen.
    • Pace yourself.
  • Take cool showers or baths to cool down.
  • Check on a friend or neighbor and have someone do the same for you.
  • Never leave children or pets in cars.
  • Check the local news for health and safety updates.

CDC urges everyone to learn about danger of extreme heat, know the potential risks to health, and discover ways stay healthy and safe. Learn more about the effects of extreme heat.

Avoid, spot, treat heat stroke and heat exhaustion.
Heat Related Illness

Learn how to avoid, spot and treat heat stroke and heat exhaustion
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Beat the heat: heat related deaths are preventable. Learn more at
Be Ready Extreme Heat

Beat the Heat: Heat related deaths are preventable.
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Climate change and extreme heat. Learn more at
Extreme Heat

Track extreme heat in your area, and stay cool, stay hydrated and stay informed.
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Stay Hydrated. Drink more water than usual - and don't wait until you're thirsty
Beat the Heat: Stay Hydrated

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Protect Others: Never leave children or pets in a parked car!
Beat the Heat: Protect Others

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Beat The Heat: Stay informed - Check your local news for extreme heat alerts and safety tips.
Beat the Heat: Stat Informed

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Related Links


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Experiencing extreme #heat in your area? Drink more water than usual and don’t wait until you’re thirsty:

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Be a good neighbor! Check on elderly neighbors who are at higher risk for heat-related illness.

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Heat cramps, heat exhaustion & heat stroke—know the symptoms and what to do when they occur:

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Muscle cramping, heavy sweating, weakness and dizziness are symptoms of heat exhaustion. Know what to do:

People age 65+ are less likely to sense and respond to changes in temperature. Check on your loved ones:

Never leave children or pets alone in vehicles. Car temperatures can quickly turn deadly.

Sunburned skin releases excess heat slower, making it harder to cool off.  Use sunscreen and avoid the burn.

Page last reviewed: July 15, 2020