As summer cranks the heat, here are a few ways to stay safe

By: Huanjia Zhang  

BBQs, beaches, and pools — summer is officially here. So is the hot weather.  

In the United States, more than 650 people are killed every year by extreme heat according to the CDC. Unlike many other natural disasters, heat-related deaths and illnesses are preventable if appropriate precautions are taken. Here are some useful tips to help protect you, your family, and your pets to stay safe during the hot summer weather.  

Excessive heat has caused more deaths than all other weather events. 

  • Hot cars can be deadly. Never leave children or pets in your vehicle. The inside temperature of the car can quickly reach 120 degrees. 
  • Check on family, friends, and neighbors who do not have air conditioning, who spend much of their time alone or who are more likely to be affected by the heat. 
  • If someone doesn’t have air conditioning, they should seek relief from the heat during the warmest part of the day in places such as schools, libraries, theaters, and malls. 

Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids. 

  • Avoid extreme temperature changes. 
  • Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, and light-colored clothing.  
  • Avoid dark colors because they absorb the sun’s rays. 

Slow down, stay indoors, and avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day. 

  • Postpone outdoor games and activities. 
  • Use a buddy system when working in excessive heat. Take frequent breaks if working outdoors. 

Don’t forget your pets.  

  • Check on animals frequently to ensure that they are not suffering from the heat. 
  • Make sure they have plenty of cool water and shade. 
  • Animals can suffer heatstroke, a common problem for pets in the warmer weather. Some of the signs of heatstroke in your pet are: heavy panting and unable to calm down, even when lying down, brick red gum color, fast pulse rate, unable to get up. 
  • If you suspect your pet has heatstroke, take their temperature rectally. 
  • If the temperature is above 105 degrees, cool the animal down. The easiest way to do this is by using the water hose. Stop cooling the animal when their temperature reaches 103 degrees. 
  • Bring your pet to the veterinarian as soon as possible as heat stroke can lead to severe organ dysfunction and damage. 

Download the Red Cross Pet First Aid app and take the Cat and Dog First Aid course. 

  • The app features step-by-step instructions for cat and dog first aid emergencies and more. Users can find it in smartphone app stores by searching for the American Red Cross, texting GETPET to 90999 for a link to download the app or going to
  • Take the Cat and Dog First Aid online course ( to learn what to do for bleeding, seizures, heatstroke, and your pet’s well-being. 

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