Use the following tips to protect yourself and your family during an extreme heat event:
- Stay informed through local radio, television or official social media accounts. Download the free HSEMA app or AlertDC to receive updates wherever you are.
- Stay indoors as much as possible.
- If you need shelter, follow the official information given to you by the District Government to find the nearest available shelter in your area.
Watch for symptoms of heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
- Heat cramps are muscular pains and spasms usually occur in the legs or abdomen. Heat cramps are often an early sign the body is having trouble with the heat.
- Heat exhaustion is a more severe condition than heat cramps. Heat exhaustion often affects athletes, firefighters, construction workers and factory workers. It also affects those wearing heavy clothing in a hot, humid environment. Signs of heat exhaustion include cool, moist, pale, ashen or flushed skin, headache, nausea, dizziness, weakness, and exhaustion.
- Heat stroke is a life-threatening condition that usually occurs by ignoring the signals of heat exhaustion. Heat stroke develops when the body systems are overwhelmed by heat and begin to stop functioning. Signs of heat stroke include extremely high body temperature, red skin which may be dry or moist; changes in consciousness; rapid, weak pulse; rapid, shallow breathing; confusion; vomiting; and seizures. Click here for more information on heat related illness.
- Limit exposure to the sun, and avoid hard work between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Apply sunscreen (SPF 15-30 is recommended) at least 20 minutes before going outside.
- Drink plenty of water. Avoid drinks with caffeine.
- Eat well-balanced, light meals.
- Postpone outdoor activities.
- Turn on the air-conditioner or fan.
- Check on your pets frequently and encourage them to drink water.
- Wear light-colored, lightweight and loose-fitting clothes.
- Visit one of the District's cooling centers located throughout the city, if you do not have access to a cool-temperature location.
- Do not leave children or pets in vehicles.