Extreme Heat

Millions of people are exposed to heat each year.  Although heat related illness and exposure is preventable, every year thousands will become sick from heat exposure and some cases may be fatal.  Children, older adults and people who are sick or with certain medical conditions are most at risk.

Public Health – Seattle & King County offers tips on how to “Stay Safe in the Heat” in mini comic books written in English, አማርኛ, عربي, 中國人, Français, 한국인, Русский, Soomaali, Español, Tagalog, український, and Tiếng Việt.

Stay Cool

  • Stay indoors and in an air-conditioned environment as much as possible.
    • Keep in mind electric fans may provide comfort but will not prevent heat-related illness.
  • Cover windows that receive morning or afternoon sun.  Awnings or louvers can reduce the heat entering a house by as much as 80%.
  • Drink plenty of fluids but, avoid beverages that contain alcohol, caffeine, or a lot of sugar as they will dehydrate you. 
  • Eat more frequently but make sure meals are well balanced and light. 
  • avoid dressing babies in heavy clothing or wrapping them in warm blankets. 
  • Take a cool shower or bath, or place cool washcloths on your skin. 
  • Check frequently on people who are elderly, ill, or make need help.  If you may need help, arrange to have a family, friend , or neighbor check in with you every few hours throughout the extreme heat periods. 
  • Never leave any person or pet in a parked vehicle. 
    • even with a window cracked open, vehicles can heat up to dangerous temperatures very quickly. 
    • Make sure pets have plenty of available fresh water. 

If you go outside

  • Schedule outdoor activities carefully:
    • Limit your outdoor activity to when it's coolest like early morning or late evening hours. 
    • Rest often in shady areas so that your body has a chance to recover.
  • Protect yourself from the sun:
    • Wear sunscreen - sunburns affect your body's ability to cool down.
    • Protect yourself by wearing a wide-brimmed hat.
  • Wear appropriate clothing:
    • Choose lightweight, light colored, loose-fitting clothing.
  • At the first sign of a heat illness (dizziness, nausea, headaches, muscle cramps) move to a cooler shaded location, rest for a few minutes and slowly drink a cool beverage.  Seek medical attention if you do not start feeling better. 

Stay Informed

  • Check your local news for extreme heat alerts and safety tips and to learn about and cooling shelters in your area.
  • Know the signs of heat-related illnesses and how to treat them.
  • monitor those at high risk, although anyone can suffer from a heat-related illness, some people are at greater risk than others. 

Water Options