Extreme heat can be deadly. Climate change will increase the number and intensity of very hot days. Nighttime temperatures may not drop low enough to give relief from the day’s heat. Below are resources to help you prepare for dealing with hot weather. Above all else, community is critical to preventing illness and death in the face of climate change. When it’s extremely hot, be sure to check on your friends, family and neighbors and share these resources with them.
Find a place to stay cool
Stay cool indoors
- Stay in an air-conditioned indoor location as much as you can.
- Drink plenty of fluids (water is best), even if you don't feel thirsty.
- Take cool showers or baths.
- Close your blinds and curtains to keep sunlight out.
- If the temperature falls at night, open your windows to let the cool air in (if it is safe to do so).
- Use fans but do not rely on a fan as your primary cooling device when it is very hot. Instead, mist yourself with a spray bottle, and then use the fan to get the cooling benefits of evaporation.
- Do not use your oven or do laundry on very hot days.
- Eat small, light meals.
If you go outside
- Drink plenty of fluids. Choose Gatorade or another sports drink if you are sweating a lot.
- Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
- Use sunscreen.
- Exercise in the early morning when it's cooler.
- Avoid strenuous activity in the heat of the day.
- Never leave children or pets in cars. Read more about keeping pets safe in hot weather.
- Get a baby pool or play in a sprinkler. Visit a local sprayground or fountain.
- If you choose to swim or recreate in a local river or lake, be sure to wear a personal flotation device (life jacket) and take other safety precautions. More information on Red Cross page.
Download these guides to learn more
When your body can't cool itself quickly enough, it can cause heat exhaustion. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include muscle cramps, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea and vomiting. If you see someone with signs of overheating, move them to a cooler location, have them rest for a few minutes and give them a cool beverage to drink slowly. Get medical attention for them immediately if they do not feel better or if they are throwing up.
Heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke, which can cause death or permanent disability unless treated immediately. Symptoms of heat stroke include:
- An extremely high body temperature (above 103°F)
- Red, hot, dry skin
- Rapid, strong pulse
- Nausea, confusion and unconsciousness
For more information, visit CDC's website.
You want to be sure your home is staying warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Weatherizing your home involves finding areas where warm or cool air may be lost, like windows, doors, and vents, and improving them. The following organizations provide free or low-cost weatherization assistance to low-income households.
HHS Climate and Health Team