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. From 1999 to 2010, a total of 7,415 people died of heat-related deaths in the United States, an average of about 618 deaths a year.

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

Track extreme heat in your area. The CDC’s Tracking Network provides information you can use to protect yourself from extreme heat. The network contains U.S. data on heat-related deaths and illnesses from 27 states. You can use it to see if heat-related deaths and illnesses are rising or declining in your state or county.

When temperatures are extremely high, take steps to protect yourself and your loved ones:
  • Stay cool, stay hydrated, and stay informed.
  • If you do not have air conditioning, visit a shopping mall or public library for a few hours or call your local health department to find any heat-relief shelters in your area.
  • Drink plenty of fluids (nonalcoholic), regardless of your activity level.
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
  • NEVER leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle, including pets.
  • Visit older adults or others at risk at least twice a day and closely watch them for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

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.

Heat-Related Illness

Heat-Related Illness

Learn how to avoid, spot and treat heat stroke and heat exhaustion

Cdc-pdf[PDF - 2 MB]
Be Ready Extreme Heat

Be Ready Extreme Heat

Beat the Heat: Heat related deaths are preventable.

Cdc-pdf[PDF - 938 KB]
Extreme Heat

Extreme Heat

Track extreme heat in your area, and stay cool, stay hydrated and stay informed.

Extreme Heat

Extreme Heat

Extreme heat caused 7,415 heat-related deaths in the United States from 1999 to 2010.

Beat the Heat

Beat the Heat

Beat the Heat! Stay cool, stay hydrated and stay informed.

Extreme Heat
Contact Information

NCEH/ATSDR Office of Communication
(770) 488-0700
envhealthmedia@cdc.gov

Related Links

Before:

Extreme #heat can be a serious threat to your health. Learn the warning signs: http://1.usa.gov/1MNeJKzExternal

Temperatures are rising! Share @CDCgov infographic on how to beat the #heat. http://1.usa.gov/1WhpoPiExternal

During:

Experiencing extreme #heat in your area? Drink more water than usual & don’t wait until you’re thirsty: http://1.usa.gov/1Sh1kusExternal

Extreme #heat in the forecast? Check on elderly neighbors who are at higher risk for heat-related illness: https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/older-adults-heat.html

Did you know that sunburn can slow the skin’s ability to release excess #heat? More hot tips: http://1.usa.gov/1WhpoPi External

If your body can’t cool down properly it  can cause #heat stress. Learn the warning signs: http://1.usa.gov/1MNeJKzExternal

#Heatwave Tip: Never leave #children or #pets alone in closed vehicles. http://1.usa.gov/1WKBXmMExternal

Working outside? Drink plenty of non-alcoholic fluid and take breaks often! #heatwave https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/workers.html

Experiencing a #heatwave? Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing http://1.usa.gov/1Sh1O3L External

Be a good neighbor!  Check on elderly neighbors who are at higher risk for heat-related illness. http://1.usa.gov/1WhqTgdExternal

Extreme heat can make you seriously ill.  Know the signs & how to prevent illness. http://1.usa.gov/1MNeJKzExternal

Heat cramps, heat exhaustion & heat stroke – know the symptoms & what to do when they occur: http://1.usa.gov/1MNeJKzExternal

Sunburn can slow the skin’s ability to release exccess #heat.  Avoid sun exposure and remember sunscreen! http://1.usa.gov/1Sh1O3LExternal

Never leave kids or pets alone in vehicles- always check the backseat! http://1.usa.gov/1WKBXmMExternal

Muscle cramping, heavy sweating, weakness & dizziness are symptoms of heat exhaustion. Know what to do: https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/warning.html

People age 65+ are less likely to sense & respond to changes in temperature.  Check on your loved ones: http://1.usa.gov/1WhqTgdExternal

Never leave children or pets alone in vehicles. Car temperatures can quickly turn deadly. http://1.usa.gov/1WKBXmMExternal

Sunburned skin releases excess heat slower, making it harder to cool off.  Use sunscreen & avoid the burn. http://1.usa.gov/1Sh1O3LExternal

Page last reviewed: July 20, 2016