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

Related Links


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Page last reviewed: July 20, 2016