Sustainable DC
Built Environment

Staying Cool on Hot Days

It is important to stay cool during extreme heat. Heat waves are more than uncomfortable—they can cause medical problems such as heat exhaustion and stroke, especially for senior citizens and people with compromised health situations.

  • STAY HYDRATED: Hydrating yourself is the most important first step to cooling down! Bring your reusable water bottle and bring it along with you everywhere you go this summer. Avoiding caffeine and alcohol also helps keep you hydrated.
  • SPEND TIME IN AIR-CONDITIONED SPACES: If possible, stay inside in air-conditioned spaces between the hottest part of the day (10 am and 3 pm). Fans can help but avoid using them if indoor air temperature is higher than 95 degrees when fans can make it harder for your body to shed heat via sweating.
  • VISIT A COOLING CENTER: If you do not have access to air conditioning, the District has cooling centers available (you can find the most convenient one with this map). If you or someone you know needs transportation, call the hyperthermia hotline at 202-399-7093. Due to COVID-19, upon entry at cooling sites, residents will be offered a mask which individuals will be required to wear for the entire time they are in the cooling site.
  • BE SMART OUTSIDE: If outside, limit exposure to sun between 10 am and 3 pm and avoid intensive exercise. Make sure to apply SPF 15-30 sunscreen at least 20 minutes before going outside and wear light-colored, lightweight and loose-fitting clothing, if possible.
  • KEEP PETS COOL: Hot and humid weather can also be dangerous for pets so check on them frequently and encourage them to drink water. Walk pets early in the morning and avoid being outdoors in the middle of the day if possible. For all animal emergencies, including animals left outside in extreme heat or in vehicles, call the Humane Rescue Alliance at 202-576-6664.
  • TAKE A COLD SHOWER OR BATH: Taking a cold shower or bath helps cool your body by lowering your core temperature.

For more information on staying cool during extreme heat, visit