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Department of Health Shares Important Tips for Residents to Prepare for Hot Summer Weather


Harrisburg, PA – As Pennsylvanians prepare to spend more time outdoors, Department of Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine shares important tips to keep families safe in extreme heat this summer.

“We want to make sure Pennsylvania residents enjoy these warmer months but also stay safe,” Dr. Levine said. “It’s important to protect yourself from harmful ultraviolet radiation and stay hydrated to prevent heat-related illnesses.”

Secretary Levine and the Department of Health recommend the following safety tips to help you and your loved ones prepare for the summer weather.

Remember to wear:

  • ​Lightweight, loose-fitting, light-colored clothing;
  • A hat or visor;
  • Sunglasses; and
  • SPF 15 or higher sunscreen (reapply as necessary).

To stay hydrated:

  • ​Drink plenty of water throughout the day – don’t wait until you are thirsty!
  • Outdoor workers should drink between two and four cups of water every hour.
  • Avoid consuming caffeinated, alcoholic, or sugary beverages.
  • Replace salt lost from sweating by drinking fruit juice or sports drinks.

To safely exercise:

  • ​Limit outdoor exercise, and stay indoors in air conditioning on hot days.
  • Exercise early in the morning or later in the evening to avoid the hottest part of the day. (11 a.m. – 3 p.m.)
  • Pace yourself when you run, walk, or otherwise exert your body.

To protect others:

  • ​Never leave children, older adults, or pets behind in a vehicle.
  • Check on those who may be more at risk from extreme temperatures like:
    • ​Infants and young children
    • ​People ages 65 and older
    • People with chronic medical conditions

It is also important to know the difference between heat-related illnesses, like heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Symptoms of a heat stroke include a high body temperature (above 103°F); red, hot and dry skin, but no sweating; a rapid, strong pulse; throbbing headache; dizziness; nausea; confusion; and unconsciousness.

If you think someone is having a heat stroke, it is important to first call 9-1-1. After calling for help, get the person to a shady area and quickly cool them down by putting them in a tub of cool water or spraying them with a garden hose. You should not give the victim any fluids including water, to drink.

Symptoms of heat exhaustion include heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, headache, fainting, and nausea or vomiting. 

Help the person cool off and seek medical attention if symptoms are severe, symptoms last more than one hour, or the victim has heart problems or high blood pressure.

During extreme heat waves, cooling centers are opened in cities across Pennsylvania for individuals without air conditioning. To find a cooling center near you, please contact your local municipality or county office.

Additional information on how to prepare for summer weather can be found on the Department of Health’s website at or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

NOTE: Video and audio of Department of Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine is available for download HERE from the Pennsylvania Internet News Service (PINS). To register for PINS emails, contact  


MEDIA CONTACT: Nate Wardle, 717-787-1783 or

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