Heat-Related Illness

  1. Tips to Beat the Heat
  2. Signs and Symptoms

Basic Tips to Beat the Heat

  • Drink plenty of water, even if you do not feel thirsty; avoid drinks that contain alcohol or caffeine. Also, avoid very cold drinks, because they can cause stomach cramps.
  • Avoid strenuous work or exercise outside during the hottest part of the day. If that is not practical, take frequent breaks and remember to drink plenty of water.
  • Stay in an air-conditioned facility; if your home is not air conditioned, visit a shopping center, public library, community center, cooling center or other air-conditioned facility.
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
  • Protect yourself from the sun with a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses, and by putting on sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher (the most effective products say “broad spectrum” or “UVA/UVB protection” on their labels).
  • NEVER leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle.
  • Although anyone at any time can suffer from heat-related illness, some people are at greater risk than others. Check regularly on:
    • Infants and young children
    • People aged 65 or older
    • People who have a mental illness
    • Those who are physically ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure
  • Don't forget about your pets. Follow these tips to keep them safe, too.
    • Do not leave a pet unattended in a hot car.
    • Always make sure pets have access to cool, clean, fresh water as well as adequate food and shelter.
    • Walk your dog in the morning or evening when temperatures are cooler. If you must walk mid-day, shorten the distance. And keep your dog in the grass as much as possible, as hot sidewalks can burn the pads of their feet.
    • Do not leave a dog outdoors unattended on a chain or tether. Long-term chaining during the summer can result in countless insect bites, dehydration and heat stroke.
    • Protect all pets from wild neighbors. Don't allow them to harass birds, rabbits, squirrels or other wild animals.
  • Finally, be mindful of the heat index. Pay attention to local weather forecasts or check the National Weather Service's heat index scale to determine if the risk for a heat-related illness is higher due to high humidity.