Heat-Related Health and Safety Tips

Milwaukee Heat Preparedness

Learn about what is occurring in Milwaukee to assess how prepared residents are for an extreme heat event.

Get cool or get help now if you feel:

Dizziness  |  Headache  |  Muscle Cramps  |  Weakness  |  Nausea or Vomiting

Call 911 for these symptoms:

Hot, dry skin  |  Confusion  |  Unconsciousness  |  Chest Pains |  Shortness of Breath

 

Drink lots of water.

To avoid dehydration, a conscious effort should be made to drink more fluids during hot weather. Rapid weight loss may be a sign of dehydration. Don't drink liquids that contain caffeine, alcohol, or large amounts of sugar--these actually cause you to lose more body fluid.

Check on your neighbors.

Make frequent checks on the status of elderly or ill relatives or neighbors that may live alone. If necessary, move them to an air-conditioned environment during the hottest part of the day.

Never leave people or pets in a parked car.

Do not leave anyone - children, individuals with disabilities, older adults, pets - in cars for even brief periods. Temperatures can rise to life-threatening levels in a matter of minutes.

This heat safety fact sheet (PDF) includes these tips and more information.

In 2019, we partnered with the Minnesota Department of Health to study who is most at risk for heat-related illness. We found young adults are most likely to visit the emergency room for heat-related illness, among other key findings.


Warm temperatures combined with high humidity levels can pose a risk of heat-related illness and death. Extreme heat is described as temperatures that hover 10 degrees or more above the average high temperature for the region and last for several weeks. Humid or muggy conditions, which add to the discomfort of high temperatures, occur when a "dome" of high atmospheric pressure traps hazy, damp air near the ground.

Wisconsin Data

You can view historical climate data and statewide heat-related illness data on the Environmental Public Health Tracking portal. To view county-level heat-related emergency room visit information, find your county's County Environmental Health Profile.

 

Stay Cool in the Heat

  • Stay in air conditioning. When possible, stay in air conditioning on hot days. If you don’t have air conditioning, head to libraries, malls, and other public spaces to keep cool. 
  • Check on loved ones. Extreme heat can affect anyone of any age, including youth and adults. Be sure to check on older friends and neighbors who live alone and don’t have air conditioning. 
  • Avoid the hottest part of the day. If you have to be outside, stick to the cooler morning and evening hours. Wear light, loose clothing and take frequent, air conditioned breaks. 
  • Beware of hot cars. Never leave a person or a pet in a parked car, even for a short time. On an 80 degree day, the temperature inside a car can reach 100 degrees in less than 10 minutes.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water on hot days. Avoid alcohol and hot, heavy meals.
  • Stay informed. Watch your local weather forecasts so you can plan outdoor activities safely. Pay attention to any extreme heat alerts.

At-Risk Populations

Although anyone at any time can suffer from heat-related illness, some people are at greater risk than others.

  • People 15-34 are most likely to visit the emergency room for heat-related illness, but older adults are most likely to be hospitalized.
  • Infants and children up to four years of age are sensitive to the effects of high temperatures and rely on others to regulate their environments and provide adequate liquids.
  • People 65 years of age or older may not compensate for heat stress efficiently and are less likely to sense and respond to change in temperature.
  • Men are bout twice as likely to visit the emergency room for heat-related illness as women.
  • People who are overweight may be prone to heat sickness because of their tendency to retain more body heat.
  • People who overexert during work or exercise may become dehydrated and susceptible to heat sickness.
  • People who are physically ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure, or who take certain medications, such as for depression, insomnia, or poor circulation, may be affected by extreme heat.

Resources

Spanish Language Resources

For more information, contact your Local Health Department.

Last Revised: May 30, 2019