National Heat Awareness Day

Although May usually isn’t as hot a month—at least, not as hot as July or August—National Heat Awareness Day falls on the last Friday in May. This holiday was created by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Weather Service (NWS) to alert the public that working in the heat can cause serious illness or lead to death if workers don’t take the proper precautions to mitigate its effects. It’s a reminder to everyone working and playing outdoors to drink plenty of fluids, pay attention to the warning signs of heat exhaustion, and spread awareness about how the heat can lead to dangerous medical emergencies.

The History of National Heat Awareness Day

National Heat Awareness Day was founded by a collaboration between OSHA and the NWS. Although it’s currently unknown when it was first celebrated, it has been observed for at least the past couple of years. It was designed as a way to inform federal workers of the risks of heat exhaustion and then it was expanded to provide general information to the public.

Quick Facts About Heat Exhaustion

To help everyone observe this holiday, and keep themselves safe in the process, we’ve decided to put together some quick facts about it. The following facts should illustrate just how dangerous it can be to work in the heat, especially if proper safety precautions aren’t taken.

Americans Die From Heat Exhaustion Every Year

Every year, as many as 175 Americans die from heat-related complications. That’s almost 30 times more people than are killed by sharks.

Heat Exhaustion Has a Few Warning Signs

Heat exhaustion is a condition that occurs when the human body begins to overheat. Some of the warning signs of heat exhaustion include heavy sweating, headache, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and fatigue. Another warning sign is when your body suddenly stops sweating.

You Can Protect Yourself Against Heat Exhaustion

In hot enough conditions, there’s nothing that can be done to stop heat exhaustion, but in most cases, this condition is entirely preventable. One thing a person can do is to wear loose clothing. Another is to properly hydrate themselves. A person can also avoid alcohol and caffeine, as those substances tend to dehydrate a person. It’s also a good idea to avoid working during the hottest part of the day whenever possible. And finally, if you get too hot, remove yourself from the heat as soon as possible. It’s also important to keep in mind that children, the elderly, and those who are suffering from some physical conditions are more susceptible to the heat.

Observing National Heat Awareness Day

The first thing a person can do when they want to observe this holiday is to educate themselves about heat exhaustion and the effects it has on the human body. The next thing a person can do is to spread the word about the dangers of heat exhaustion among friends and family members. If you want to spread the word about it online, do so by using the hashtag #NationalHeatAwarenessDay.

When is it?
This year (2024)
May 31 Friday
Next year (2025)
May 30 Friday
Last year (2023)
May 26 Friday
Awareness & Cause, Health & Body