• get outdoors
  • an hour on the trail
  • connecting with nature
  • a few days in the woods
  • spending time outdoors
  • Powered by Tracking

Spending time in our natural environment can have multiple health benefits. It can elevate our mood, lower blood pressure, and fight anxiety and depression. It can bring calm into our stressful lives. Nature’s restorative effects are available to people of all ages and fitness levels.

Summer brings many opportunities to get outdoors, enjoy natural surroundings, and support our health. As you plan your next break, explore these resources that can help you stay healthy and safe during the summer season.

Outdoor Recreation and Safety

enjoy the beauty; prevent the bites!

Missouri summers can be hot! In the heat of the summer, it’s best to avoid the mid-day sun. Instead, get outdoors in the mornings, late afternoons or evenings. But be aware, ticks and mosquitoes like to come out at dawn or dusk as well, or in natural areas we like to explore in summer.

Ticks and mosquitoes are very common in Missouri and both can spread disease through bites. Learn more about how to avoid ticks while also enjoying the Missouri outdoors this summer by visiting our interactive story map below:

Missouri's tickborne disease story map

2 minute drill to protect yourself and others from ticks

Missouri Tickborne Disease view interactive maps of tickborne diseases in Missouri, common ticks that spread them, and tips for preventing exposure in the first place. Learn more before you explore the great Missouri outdoors.

  • listen to nature
  • missouri state parks
  • outdoors
  • mo fish advisory
  • tick-borne diseases

when in doubt report and stay out

Harmful Algal Blooms - avoid and report blooms in lakes, ponds, and streams. Learn about the health effects in humans and animals, and what to do if you or others were in water with a bloom.

Summer Weather and Sun Safety

  • hyperthermia and heat stress prevention
  • cooling centers
  • aeroallergens
  • heat and health tracker
  • melanoma dashboard
  • Hyperthermia - be safe, aware and prepared for hot weather. Learn the signs and symptoms of heat stress and hyperthermia. Recognizing them early can save lives and help you to know what to do until help arrives.
  • Cooling Centers - find a local cooling center near you. A cooling center is a place to cool down from the heat during the day. This map shares contact and access information under normal business operations. Keep this resource on hand for your best health plan.
  • Aeroallergens - get tips on protecting yourself from pollen in the air.
  • CDC's Heat & Health Tracker - view local heat and health information to better prepare for and respond to extreme heat events
  • CDC's Melanoma Dashboard - view data on skin cancer and get preventive tips for staying safe in the sun

Heat stress or heat-related illness can be reduced by following these COOL DOWN Missouri tips

Cooling centers are places across Missouri where you can cool down. Have this resource on hand to keep yourself and others, including your work buddies, safe from the heat.

Opt to work, exercise or play outdoors in the coolest hours of the day.

Offer others hydrating beverages like flavored waters and sports drinks. Avoid caffeine and alcohol.

Learn the signs of heat stress and watch out for them in others.

Don’t wait, call 911 and get medical help right away if you suspect heat stress in yourself or someone else. Timing is key: as the body temperature rises, every second counts, and emergency response is critical.

One serious symptom observed in a person with heat stress is passing out - fainting or losing consciousness. Call 911 and get medical help right away!

Working in the heat? As a safety measure, buddy up! If you and a partner are watching out for each other, you’ll both have a better chance of avoiding heat stress.

Never leave children or pets in cars!

Healthy at Home or Away

Missouri's harvest is in reach story map

Harvest is in Reach - explore Missouri's food access landscape, summer food and farmer’s market programs, and resources for getting outside and exploring the fresh picks of the season in your community. Resources include links to educational events and recipe inspiration. What’s for your dinner tonight?

  • carbon monoxide
  • radon
  • storms
  • missouri grown
  • community gardening
  • Carbon Monoxide - prevent carbon monoxide poisoning while vacationing, boating or grilling
  • Radon - if your windows are closed this summer, it may be an ideal time to test for radon
  • Storms - recover after a storm or flood
  • Missouri Grown - find fresh, local and delicious Missouri-grown foods and fun
  • Community Gardening - create a community garden free of environmental contaminants

test your private drinking water well

missouri department of conservation - discover nature

Additional Resources:

  • agristress helpline 833.897.2474
  • agrability

The National Environmental Public Health Tracking Program

Environmental Public Health Tracking Program

Missouri Environmental Public Health Tracking (EPHT) is a program within the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services and funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. EPHT is part of a network of people and information systems which delivers a core set of health, exposure, and hazards data, information summaries and tools to enable analysis, visualization and reporting of insights drawn from data. Those insights are intended to help data drive actions and improve community health.

Environmental Public Health Tracking