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Staying safe from the heat in Asheville

The summer sun is getting hotter by the minute — here’s how to safely get the most out of the season.

Asheville mountains from a rooftop downtown

Get ready for some hot months ahead.

Photo by @gregfigs

With Asheville’s temps likely hitting the high 80s and 90s (plus, chances for rain this week to increase the humidity), we’re coming in hot with some info on the effects of extreme heat, some tips on how to beat the heat in Asheville, and how to recognize the signs of heat illness.

What’s the difference between heat + extreme heat?

Extreme heat is defined as summertime temperatures that are much hotter + more humid than average. The body normally cools itself by sweating, however, when experiencing extreme heat, sweating is not enough. The body temperature rises faster than it can cool itself down and could lead to vital organ damage.

Although we aren’t currently in a period of extreme heat, it’s time to prepare for July — the hottest month of Asheville’s year. Plus, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center, predicts that there’s a 40-50% chance of temps being higher than average.

Pro tip: The CDC shares this handy heat risk calculator to see how hot Buncombe County will get and how risky outside time will be.

How can I prepare for heat at home?

  • Make an emergency kit and family communications plan.
  • Put in window air conditioners and insulate if needed.
  • Check air-conditioning ducts for proper insulation.
  • Put in short-term window reflectors between windows and drapes, like aluminum foil-covered cardboard, to reflect heat back outside.
  • Weather-strip doors and sills to keep cool air in.
  • Cover windows that receive morning or afternoon sun with drapes, shades, awnings, or louvers. Outdoor awnings or louvers can lower the heat that comes into a home by up to 80%.

Pro tip: Stay hydrated and avoid sugary beverages, never leave children (or pets) unattended in cars, and take shade breaks if you have to work outside for long periods.

What are the warning signs of heat illness?

  • Body weakness
  • Extreme thirst
  • Dizziness
  • Irritability
  • Muscle cramping
  • High levels of humidity
  • Obesity
  • Fever
  • Dehydration
  • Prescription drug use
  • Heart disease
  • Sunburn
  • Alcohol use
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