Excessive Heat Health Information

Avoid heat-related illness

Exposure to excessive heat can cause illness, injury and even death. The elderly, young children and people with chronic health problems are most at risk.

Avoid heat-related illness by:

  • Drinking plenty of fluids, especially water; avoid beverages that contain caffeine or alcohol.
  • Dressing appropriately in lightweight clothing.
  • Avoiding strenuous activity in mid-day.
  • Staying indoors and using air conditioning, if possible.

Frequently check children and adults who are at risk and may be affected by the heat for symptoms of heat-related illness. Symptoms to watch for include:

  • Headache.
  • Fatigue.
  • Muscle cramps.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Dizziness or fainting.

More serious symptoms include a rise in body temperature (up to 103 degrees Fahrenheit), a strong, rapid pulse, a throbbing headache with dizziness and confusion, and nausea. Skin may become red, hot to the touch and feel dry. People with these symptoms should seek medical help quickly.

The elderly, young children and people with chronic health problems are most at risk. If you know of someone who is elderly, disabled or home-bound due to illness, check on him or her frequently, particularly if they do not have fans or air conditioning. They are at a higher risk for health-related complications from the elevated temperatures.

Visit the National Weather Service website for more information about preventing heat-related illness.

Pierce County cooling centers

Locations around Pierce County that people can go to cool down include movie theaters, local malls and other large stores, as well as Pierce County libraries throughout the region. 

The following locations will allow domesticated pets to come in with their owners to get out of the heat. Pets need to be on a leash or in a crate and owners must provide water if they plan on being in the facility for long periods of time.

  • Petco: hours may vary store to store.
  • Petsmart: 9 am - 9 pm, Mon - Sat., 10 am - 6 pm on Sun.
  • VCA (Veterinary Centers of America): Pacific Animal Hospital Pac Ave, Pacific Ave. S., Open 24 hours.

Additional resources and information

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Extreme Heat and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).

Washington State Department of Health has also provided hot weather safety information in: