Beat the Heat: Prevent Heat-Related Illnesses

Woman walking along dirt trail
Be prepared for the high temperatures during your park visit.

NPS Photo

Recreating in national parks this summer? Don't let the heat ruin your trip!

Heat-related illness can cause symptoms from heat rash to heat stroke. You may need at least a full day of rest to recover or a visit to the hospital. This could ruin your whole trip and we don't want that to happen!

Beat the Heat by learning:

What is a Heat-Related Illness?

Heat-related illnesses are caused by your body's inability to cool down properly. The body normally cools itself by sweating, but sometimes sweating just isn't enough. When this happens, the body's temperature rises which can lead to brain damage or injure vital organs. Heat-related illnesses range from treatable symptoms, like heat rash and sunburns, to heat stroke which can lead to death if not treated quickly.

Did you know that your risk of heat-related illness increases with the following:

Plan for the Heat

Pack for the Heat

During Your Activity

IMPORTANT: Always check your car for your children and pets, especially the backseat, before you lock your doors and walk away. Do not leave children or pets in a parked vehicle. The temperature in a car can rise almost 20 degrees Fahrenheit in 10 minutes! Leaving a window cracked or open is not enough to stop the quick rise in temperatures. Children, who are left unattended, are at the greatest risk of heat illness that could quickly lead to death. Learn more at NHTSA on how to prevent heat stroke in cars.

What to do when experiencing a Heat-Related Illness

  • Stop what you are doing

  • Move to a cool, shaded area

  • Call 9-1-1 or flag down a ranger for help

  • Follow CDC recommendations for addressing Heat-Related Illnesess. Drink water if you are experiencing heat exhaustion while waiting for emergency responders.

  • Cool down by splashing or soaking yourself with water, if available, and fanning vigorously

The first page of the Trip Planning Guide, including the Trip Plan Checklist
NPS Trip Planning Guide

Don't let the heat keep you from exploring the park. Be a weather-ready explorer and check out the NPS Trip Planning Guide. Learn more about your Health & Safety in national parks.

Last updated: June 29, 2023