(WHTM) — The heat is on here in Pennsylvania!

With a long stretch of hot and humid weather in the forecast, the heat can be absolutely unbearable to most people, and cause injuries and death if proper precautions are not taken.

Heat can take many people by surprise. Many people overexert themselves each year and either get injured or die from heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion or heat stroke. The signs of heat-related illnesses can vary from person to person.

There are three main levels of heat-related illnesses. There are heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and the most serious: heat stroke.

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According to ready.gov, the main signs of having heat cramps are muscle pains or spasms in the stomach, arms, or legs.

Heat Exhaustion is the second level of heat-related illnesses. Symptoms of this include:

  • Heavy sweating
  • Paleness
  • Cramps
  • Tiredness
  • Weakness
  • Fast or weak pulse
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Fainting
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

If you or someone is suffering from heat cramps or exhaustion, go to a cooler location, remove excess clothing and take sips of water or sports drinks

The last level of heat illness is heat stroke. Symptoms of heat stroke include:

  • Extremely high body temperature (above 103 degrees) taken orally 
  • Red, hot and dry skin with no sweat
  • Rapid, strong pulse
  • Dizziness, confusion, or unconsciousness

If you suspect heatstroke, call 911 immediately or get the person to a hospital. Cool them down with whatever methods are available until medical help arrives. According to Dr. Solti-Grasz with Baptist Health, he does not recommend drinking liquids, as fluids may enter the lungs through the trachea, or airway.

To stay cool in the hot weather, ready.gov suggests the following:

  • Cover windows with drapes or shade. This will keep the heat out and the cool air in
  • Do not rely on a fan to keep you cool. Fans only create airflow and create a false sense of comfort
  • Take cool showers or baths
  • Drink fluids and stay hydrated
  • Avoid high-energy activities or work outside during the midday heat, if possible
  • Consider pet safety. Make sure all pets have adequate water and shade. Dark pavement can burn a dog’s pads if the surface is hot enough
  • Use your oven less to help reduce the temperature in your home.

The humidity also can make the air feel much hotter than it is. This is something called the heat index which factors in the heat and humidity. According to the National Weather Service, the heat index is what the temperature feels like to the human body when relative humidity is combined with the air temperature.  This has important considerations for the human body’s comfort.

For more information about what to do during hot weather, click here. For information about the heat index, click here.

Stay cool!