Summer is in full swing, which means the weather is heating up! Summer provides a great opportunity for outdoor activities – including swimming, running, hiking, and biking. However, it is important to consider that hotter temperatures bring serious heat-related health risks. According to the CDC, around 618 people die from heat related illness every year in the United States. Learn to recognize the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke so that you can stay safe this summer.

Heat exhaustion is caused by a loss of water and salt from the body. Some warning signs of heat exhaustion include heavy sweating, clammy/pale skin, a fast/weak pulse, nausea, vomiting, muscle cramps, muscle weakness, dizziness, and headache. If you suspect someone is experiencing heat exhaustion, move them to a cooler place, cool the skin with damp towels, and have the person sip water or an electrolyte beverage. If the person vomits or symptoms get worse and last longer than 1 hour, seek medical attention.

Heat stroke is an especially dangerous type of heat-related illness. It occurs when the body’s heat-regulating systems are overwhelmed by excessive heat. It can be life threatening, so if you suspect someone is experiencing heat stroke, it is important to call 911 right away. Symptoms of heat stroke include a body temperature of 103 degrees or higher, warm/dry skin, a fast/strong pulse, headache, dizziness, nausea, confusion, and loss of consciousness. If you suspect someone is suffering from heat stroke, call 911 immediately. Move the person to a cooler place and lower their temperature using damp, cool cloths.

There are several steps you can take to reduce your risk of heat-related illness during the hot summer months. Check out our best tips below!

Cool Tips to Beat the Heat

  • Avoid strenuous activity between the hours of 11AM-3PM – this is the hottest time of the day. If you are out during those hours, avoid direct sunlight and stay in the shade.
  • Exercise early – If you enjoy running or exercising outside, do it early in the morning or later in the evening when the sun is low in the sky.
  • Hydrate – Be sure to drink plenty of water when you are going to be outside in the heat – it helps lower body temperature and replace fluids lost through sweating.
  • Wear loose fitting, light colored clothing – Darker colors trap heat, so be sure to keep your outfit cool and comfortable.


Sources: CDC. The Health Tip of the Week is for educational purposes only. For additional information, consult your physician. Please feel free to copy and distribute this health resource.