Your best defense against heat-related illness is prevention. Taking simple precautions can help everyone remain safe and healthy and prevent a heat related illness: stay cool, hydrated, informed, and protect people in your care, such as children and the elderly.
Those who are at highest risk are people who work or exercise outdoors, infants and children, the elderly, the homeless, and those who have chronic medical conditions that decrease their tolerance for heat.
- Stay in air-conditioned buildings as much as possible and avoid direct sunlight.
- Never leave infants or children in a parked car.
- Do not rely on a fan as your primary cooling device during an extreme heat event.
- Don’t use the stove or oven to cook – it will make you and your house hotter.
- Take cool showers or baths to cool down.
- Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
- Pets should not be left in parked cars – they can suffer heat sickness too.
Stay Hydrated and Informed
- Drink plenty of water and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink.
- Check the local news regularly for heat alerts and health and safety tips.
- Check local weather forecasts so you can plan activities safely when it’s hot outside.
- Check on a friend or neighbor to make sure they stay healthy and safe, as well.
Watch for the signs
The warning signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke vary. If you start to experience symptoms, stop all activity, move to a cool environment, drink water, and seek medical attention without delay.
- Heavy sweating
- Cold, pale, clammy skin
- Fast, weak pulse
- Nausea or vomiting
- High body temperature (above 103°F)
- Hot, red, dry or moist skin
- Rapid and strong pulse
- Possible unconsciousness
If you have questions or concerns about heat related illness, contact the Environmental Health Division at the Buncombe County Department of Health at 250-5016 or check the website buncombecounty.org/health.