It’s very, very hot outside, and one clear indicator of that is the dire warning that just came from your county health and Emergency Services officials.

Guilford County has been blisteringly hot before; however, the recent string of extremely hot days has compelled county officials, for the first time ever, to warn residents about the dangers of that heat.

 Recently, more than a thousand people in the Middle East died from heat related health issues and those deaths are now happening here across the US in big numbers as well.  So, on Tuesday, June 25, Guilford County put out a press release warning county residents of the dangers the current extreme heat can cause.

The press release also highlights the importance of following safety tips that can help prevent illness and even death during days of extreme heat.

On Tuesday, June 25, the high temperature in Guilford County was expected to hit 98 degrees.

According to the county, “An extreme heat event consists of several days with temperatures much higher than usual for a specific time and place,” which is what Guilford County is currently experiencing.

 The American Red Cross calls these events the “deadliest weather phenomena, causing more fatalities than any other weather condition.”

There has been an effort among political leaders across the country to begin to classify extreme heat events such as the current “heat dome” as natural disasters by FEMA in the same way that hurricanes and tornadoes are classified.

This week, Guilford County Emergency Services is urging residents, among other things, to be sure to stay hydrated during the extreme heat event to prevent illness, and the county is providing some tips for heat safety.

The number one rule is to drink plenty of water, while avoiding drinks with caffeine, excessive sugar or alcohol since they can lead to dehydration.  So, even though a bourbon and coke might sound refreshing in this heat, county officials say a bottle of water will be better.

Here are some other tips from Guilford County health officials…

  • Stay cool indoors: If possible, remain in an air-conditioned environment. Don’t rely only on a fan as your primary cooling device during extreme heat. When temperatures are in the high 90s, fans may not prevent heat-related illness. Also, cover windows with drapes or shades.
  • Dress appropriately: Wear lightweight, light-colored clothes that reflect sunlight. Use hats or umbrellas for added protection – and always apply sunscreen to exposed skin.
  • Limit physical activity: Avoid strenuous activities during the hottest hours. If you must work outdoors, drink 2 to 4 glasses of water every hour and take frequent breaks in a cool area. Ideally, do whatever work you can in an air-conditioned environment.
  • Never leave children or pets in parked cars: Temperatures inside a vehicle can reach 120°F in minutes and can hit 150°F in less than an hour, leading to heat stroke and even death.
  • Check on vulnerable neighbors: Especially during high temperatures and humidity, people 65 and older are at an increased risk of heat-related illnesses and complications.

Guilford County is also encouraging residents to learn the differences between various heat-related illnesses. Heat exhaustion occurs when the body loses an excessive amount of water and salt, typically because of profuse sweating. If you’re experiencing heat exhaustion, get to an air-conditioned place, drink water and, if possible, take a cool shower or use wet cold compresses to cool down.

Symptoms of heat exhaustion include:

  • Headache
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Thirst
  • Excessive sweating
  • Muscle cramps
  • Cool, pale clammy skin

The most severe heat-related illness is heat stroke, which occurs when the body loses its ability to regulate temperature. Heat stroke can result in “a rapid increase in body temperature, failure of the sweating mechanism, and an inability to cool down.”

Immediate emergency treatment is essential when heat stroke occurs because it can lead to permanent disability or death if it isn’t addressed immediately.

If you see someone experiencing a heat stroke call 911 and, if possible, move the person to a cooler place, cool down the individual with a wet cold cloth, but don’t give them anything to drink.

Symptoms of heat stroke include the following:

  • Confusion, throbbing headache, slurred speech
  • No sweating
  • Body temperature about 103°F
  • Red, hot, dry skin
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Rapid, strong pulse
  • Loss of consciousness

Guilford County also encourages county residents to sign up for the NC Department of Health and Human Services’ “Heat Health Alert System” in order to receive email alerts when the local heat index is forecast to be unhealthy. You can register at

The Guilford County Continuum of Care, which addresses homelessness, has assembled a list of cooling stations available across Guilford County. Residents are encouraged to visit the 2024 Cooling Stations webpage to learn more about the availability of each center.