more on summer safety

This summer’s extreme heat waves have already smashed temperature records in multiple cities throughout the western U.S. And there’s plenty of summer still to come. 

In a heat wave, certain people are more vulnerable to serious illness and death, including infants and children younger than 4, older adults, and people with medical conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. But even those without risk factors can develop heat-related illness, particularly if they’re doing strenuous activity.

As outdoor tem­per­a­tures continue to rise this summer, it’s important to make sure your home is ready to take the heat. Here, our experts offer advice on keeping your air conditioner in top shape, plus other ways of staying cool and healthy.

Hover your cursor over the black dots (or tap them if you're using a mobile device) to see our tips. 

Click black dots for
ways to stay cool.

Be Alert to Danger

Heatstroke occurs at a body temperature over 104° F, and it can be fatal. So if you suspect that you or a companion are experiencing it, call 911. Signs include passing out, changes in behavior (such as agitation or confusion), and the inability to produce sweat. Early signs of heat-related illness, which can progress to heatstroke, include feeling nauseated, dizzy, or weak. If you notice one of these symptoms, take a rest and get into air condi­tioning, or cool off with a shower or bath.

Editor’s Note: A version of this article also appeared in the August 2020 issue of Consumer Reports On Health