Summertime means more fun in the outdoors! These tips will keep your summer safe and healthy.

Tips for Dealing with Extreme Heat

Extreme heat can be dangerous, leading to heat stroke and death. Heat stroke occurs when your temperature rises quickly and your body cannot cool down. This condition is life-threatening, but it is preventable.

According to the National Weather Service, heat is one of the leading weather-related killers in the United States.

Each National Weather Service Forecast Office will issue the following heat-related products as conditions warrant:

  • Excessive Heat Outlook is issued when the potential exists for an excessive heat event in the next 3-7 days. See the mean heat index and probability forecasts maps.
  • Excessive Heat Watch is issued when conditions are favorable for an excessive heat event in the next 24 to 72 hours. A watch is used when the risk of a heat wave has increased but its timing and occurrence is still uncertain. A watch provides enough lead time so that those who need to prepare can do so.
  • Excessive Heat Warning/Advisory is issued when an excessive heat event is expected in the next 36 hours. This means an excessive heat event is occurring, is imminent, or has a very high probability of occurring. The warning is used for conditions posing a threat to life. An advisory is for less serious conditions that cause significant discomfort or inconvenience and, if caution is not taken, could lead to a threat to life.
clipart man under hot sun
Tips for Preventing Heat-Related Illness

  • Listen to local weather forecasts and stay aware of higher temperatures.
  • Weather strip doors and windows to keep cool air in.
  • Cover windows that receive morning or afternoon sunshine with drapes, shades or awnings.
  • Drink plenty of water, even if you do not feel thirsty (check with your doctor if you are normally supposed to limit your fluids).
  • Stay in air-conditioned space if possible. If your home is not air-conditioned, go to a public library, heat-relief shelter, or other cool location.
  • Pace yourself in outside activities and reschedule if needed.
  • Wear lightweight and light-colored, loose-fitting, clothing.
  • Decrease exercise. 
  • Closely watch those who are at high risk of heat-related illness, including young children, older adults, and individuals with physical or mental illnesses. 
  • Never leave anyone or any pet in a parked vehicle.
  • Additional tips.

Warning signs of heatstroke

Skin is flushed, red and dry
Little or no sweating
Deep breathing
Dizziness, headache, or fatigue
Dizziness, headache, or fatigue
Less urine is produced, of a dark yellowish color
Confusion, loss of consciousness
In adults, hallucinations and aggression

Warning signs of heatstroke in children

Decreased physical activity
Lack of tears when crying
Dry mouth
Irritability and fussiness

If you believe you or someone else may be suffering from heat stroke, get help immediately.

Weather Alerts for the Unpredictable Summer
Summer weather can be unpredictable with the chance of major effects to include wildfires, tornados, and more.  It is important to be aware of pending weather conditions. Be proactive to ensure safety measures are being met. The National Weather Service has developed a list of free and paid alerts available by email or SMS text that are beneficial for families and communities. To view the list of weather alert systems available, visit the National Weather Service to subscribe to weather and emergency alerts.

Tornado Warning and Alert App by American Red Cross

American Red Cross Tornado App logo

Get ready for a tornado with the official Tornado App from the American Red Cross. The tornado warning app puts everything you need to know to prepare for a tornado – and all that comes with it – in the palm of your hand. From your mobile phone, call "**REDCROSS" (**73327677) and the American Red Cross will send you a link to download the app to your phone. Apps can also be downloaded directly from the iTunes or Google Play app stores.

© Copyright The American National Red Cross. All rights reserved.

Are you getting bugged?
Being outdoors means more chances of being bit by a tick or mosquito. Using the correct insect repellent along with other preventive actions can discourage ticks, mosquitoes, and other biting insects from bugging you. Here are some tips you can take:


Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services' information on the risks of tick borne viruses from can be found here.

Avoid tick habitats

  • Avoid wooded and bushy areas with high grass and leaf litter (not really an option for field staff, but if you can avoid, do so).
  • Avoid contact with vegetation by walking in in the center of trails.
  • Reduce time spent in tall grass and shrubs.
  • Mow tall grass or brush and reduce leaf litter that may serve as tick habitat.

Avoid tick bites

  • Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and high boots to keep ticks away from exposed skin.
  • Cover gaps in your clothing where ticks can crawl in by tucking pants into socks and tucking shirts into pants.
  • Wear light-colored clothing and you will be able to see ticks more easily.
  • Use insect repellent when outdoors (DEET).
  • Use products that contain permethrin on clothing.
  • Bathe or shower as soon as possible after coming indoors to wash off and more easily find ticks that are crawling on your body.
  • Conduct a full-body tick check after spending time outdoors. Promptly remove attached ticks without squeezing them!
  • Examine gear and pets, as ticks can “ride” into the home and attach to a person later.

Remove mosquito habitats

  • Eliminate standing water in tires, rain gutters, buckets, plastic covers, toys, or any other container where mosquitoes may breed.
  • Empty and change the water in rain barrels, fountains, wading pools, bird baths, and potted plant trays at least once a week to destroy potential mosquito habitats.
  • Drain or fill temporary pools of water with dirt.
  • Keep swimming pool water properly treated and circulating.
Use structural barriers
  • Cover all gaps in doors, walls, and windows to prevent mosquitoes from entering.
  • Make sure door and window screens are working correctly.
  • Completely cover baby carriers with netting.
Avoid getting bitten
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and socks to keep mosquitoes away from exposed skin.
  • Tuck pants into socks and tuck shirts into pants to cover gaps in clothing where ticks might crawl in or enter.
  • Stay indoors when mosquitoes are most active at sunrise, sunset, and early in the evening.

Other Preventive Actions to Avoid Getting Bitten

Campfire Safety

clipart man putting out fire with bucket of water

Camping adventures with family and friends are a great summertime  activity. However, as Smokey Bear has always said, “Only YOU can prevent wildfires!”

Campfire safety tips

  • When starting a campfire or grill in a woodland area:
  • Never build a campfire under overhanging branches or trees.
  • Clear a 10-foot area of grass and pine needles.
  • Keep plenty of water available and have a shovel ready.

If a wildfire starts in your camping area, evacuate immediately and call 9-1-1.