NWS Jacksonville » Weather Safety » Extreme Heat Safety

  • Slow down. Strenuous activities should be reduced, eliminated, or rescheduled to the coolest time of the day. Individuals at risk should stay in the coolest available place, not necessarily indoors.
  • Dress for summer. Lightweight, light-colored clothing reflects heat and sunlight and helps your body maintain normal temperatures.
  • Put less fuels on your inner fires. Foods (like proteins) that increase metabolic heat production also increase water loss.
  • Drink plenty of water or other non-alcoholic fluids. Your body needs water to keep cool. Drink plenty of fluids, even if you don't feel thirsty. Persons who (1) have epilepsy or heart, kidney, or liver disease, (2) are on fluid-restrictive diets, or (3) have a problem with fluid retention should consult a physician before increasing their consumption of fluids.
  • Do not drink alcoholic beverages.
  • Do not take salt tablets unless specified by a physician. Persons on salt-restrictive diets should consult a physician before increasing their salt intake.
  • Spend more time in air-conditioned places. Air conditioning in homes and other buildings markedly reduces danger from the heat. If you cannot afford an air conditioner, spending some time each day (during hot weather) in an air-conditioned environment affords some protection.
  • Don't get too much sun. Sunburn makes the job of heat dissipation that much more difficult.
Heat Disorder Symptoms First Aid*
SUNBURN Redness and pain. In severe cases, swelling of skin, blisters, fever and headaches. Ointments for mild cases if blisters appear and do not break. If breaking occurs, apply dry sterile dressing. Serious, extensive cases should be seen by a physician.
HEAT CRAMPS Painful spasms usually in the muscles of the legs and abdomen possible. Heavy sweating. Firm pressure on cramping muscles, or gentle massage to relieve spasm. Give sips of water. If nausea occurs, discontinue use.
HEAT EXHAUSTION Heavy sweating, weakness, skin cold, pale, and clammy. Pulse thready. Normal temperature possible. Fainting and vomiting. Get victim out of sun. Lay down and loosen clothing. Apply cool, wet cloths. Fan or move victim to air-conditioned room. Give sips of water. If nausea occurs, discontinue use. If vomiting continues, seek immediate medical attention.
HEAT STROKE (or sunstroke) High body temperature (106 degrees F or higher). Hot, dry skin. Rapid and strong pulse. Possible unconsciousness. Heat stroke is a severe medical emergency. Summon emergency medical assistance or get the victim to a hospital immediately. Delay can be fatal! Move the victim to a cooler environment. Reduce body temperature with cold bath or sponging. Use extreme caution. Remove clothing, use fans and air conditioners. If body temperature rises again, repeat process. Do not give fluids.

* For more information, contact your local American Red Cross Chapter. Ask to enroll in a first aid course.


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