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Extreme Heat FAQs

Extreme Heat often results in the highest number of annual deaths among all weather-related hazards. In most of the United States, extreme heat is defined as a long period (2 to 3 days) of high heat and humidity with temperatures above 90 degrees. In extreme heat, evaporation is slowed and the body must work extra hard to maintain a normal temperature. This can lead to death by overworking the human body.

Remember that:

  • Extreme heat can occur quickly and without warning.
  • Older adults, children, and sick or overweight individuals are at greater risk from extreme heat.
  • Humidity increases the feeling of heat as measured by a heat index.

If you are under an extreme heat warning:

  • What you can do
    • Find air conditioning.
    • Avoid strenuous activities.
    • Watch for heat illness.
    • Wear light clothing.
    • Check on family members and neighbors.
    • Drink plenty of fluids.
    • Watch for heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke.
    • Never leave people or pets in a closed car.
    • Salt tablets should only be taken if specified by your doctor

How to stay safe when extreme heat threatens:

  • Prepare now
    • Find places in your community where you can go to get cool.
    • Keep your home cool by doing the following:
    • Cover windows with drapes or shades.
    • Weather-strip doors and windows.
    • Use window reflectors, such as aluminum foil-covered cardboard, to reflect heat back outside.
    • Add insulation to keep the heat out.
    • Use attic fans to clear hot air.
    • Install window air conditioners and insulate around them.
    • Learn to recognize the signs of heat-related illness.
  • Be safe during
    • Never leave a child, adult, or animal alone inside a vehicle on a warm day.
    • Find places with air conditioning. Libraries, shopping malls, and community centers can provide a cool place to take a break from the heat.
    • If you’re outside, find shade. Wear a hat wide enough to protect your face.
    • Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.