Skip to content
Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention

Guard Your Health in Extreme Heat

Serious health problems can arise if people either ignore or don’t recognize the warning signs of heat-related conditions. Heat stroke causes extremely high body temperature, red and dry skin, rapid pulse, confusion, brain damage, loss of consciousness and possibly death.

If you have to be outside during the heat of the day, take frequent breaks in the shade or do strenuous work activities only during the early morning or late afternoon hours, if possible. Wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothes. Drink plenty of water but avoid heavily sweetened, caffeinated or alcoholic drinks. Watch out for co-workers and others who may begin to show signs of heat stress.

Symptoms of heat stress may include:

  • Heavy sweating
  • Muscle cramps
  • Weakness or dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Weak but rapid pulse
  • Headache

If you are outside during the heat of the day and have these symptoms, immediately find shade with good ventilation or a breeze, drink plenty of water slowly and get help.

To help someone else who has these symptoms, get the victim into shade, call 911 for emergency medical services and start cooling the person immediately with cool water or by fanning.

If possible, stay inside during the hottest times of the day in an air-conditioned area, either at home or in a mall, library or recreation center. If air conditioning is not available, pull the shades over the windows and use cross-ventilation and fans to cool rooms. Check on your neighbors if they do not have air conditioning in their home.

Remember to keep cool and use common sense:

  • Do not leave infants, children, or pets in a parked car, even for a minute.
  • Avoid hot foods and heavy meals — they add heat to your body.
  • Drink plenty of fluids and replace salts and minerals in your body. Do not take salt tablets unless under medical supervision.
  • Dress infants and children in cool, loose clothing and shade their heads and faces with hats or an umbrella.
  • Limit sun exposure during mid-day hours and in places of potential severe exposure such as beaches.
  • Provide plenty of fresh water for your pets, and leave the water in a shady area.

Related Links: