Hot weather increases the risk of heat-related illnesses. Some individuals, such as young children and older adults, are at an increased risk for heat-related illnesses. Preparing for high heat is important for staying safe regardless of age.
When the weather is hot, it is important to follow safe practices to prevent heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
Heat-related illnesses are illnesses that occur when the body overheats, usually in response to prolonged, hot, humid weather. There are three main heat-related illnesses: heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
If you are experiencing heat cramps or heat exhaustion, you may need medical attention. If you’re experiencing heat stroke, you must get help right away. Delay may be fatal.
To learn more, visit the CDC's Warning Signs and Symptoms of Heat-related Illnesses page.
If you think someone may be experiencing heat stroke, call 911 immediately. Do not delay. Their life is in danger. After you have called 911, move the person to a cooler place, preferably with air conditioning. Use cool, wet cloths to cool them down, or place them in a cool bath. Do not give them anything to drink.
You may need to seek medical attention if you or someone else is experiencing heat exhaustion or heat cramps too.
Seek medical attention for heat exhaustion if:
If you or someone else is showing signs of heat exhaustion, move to a cooler place, preferably with air conditioning. Loosen clothes and use cool, wet cloths to cool down, or sit in a cool bath. Sip water. Heavy sweating can eliminate critical salts and minerals your body needs, so make sure you’re replacing these too. You can replace salts by drinking a sports drink, such as Gatorade or Powerade.
Seek medical attention for heat cramps if:
You might be able to relieve heat cramps by gently massaging or applying firm pressure on the cramping muscles. Drink water in sips unless you feel nauseous. If you feel nauseous, stop drinking water.