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Six Ways to Stay Safe Outdoors in Extreme Heat

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The summer sun has been anything but fun for many this year. Brutal temperatures torched records across the U.S. as they peaked globally in July. Relentless heat waves baked the Southwest and rolled into the Midwest and South, occasionally enveloping other regions that are completely unaccustomed to such extremes. Exposure to this kind of heat isn’t just uncomfortable; it can kill. As summer heat becomes more intense and indoor air-conditioning becomes a life-support system, the season may cease being a time to enjoy the outdoors—if we don’t find new ways to stay safe outside.

“We’re seeing a compounding crisis of health risks and climate-related impacts,” says Cecilia Sorensen, a Columbia University physician-scientist who studies health problems that emerge from climate change. Recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that hospitals in the region that includes Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico and Oklahoma recorded a major spike in heat-related illness and emergency department visits this summer. In the last week of July alone, more…

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