BLUEFIELD, W.Va (WVVA) - Summer officially begins on June 20th, but the hot and humid conditions are already settling in across the Two Virginias. It is important to know how to protect yourself, because heat is the number one weather-related killer in the United States.
As the temperatures rise, hydration is extremely vital. Drinking water, taking breaks, and reducing the amount of time outdoors in the heat can save your life. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are two heat injuries that can impact anyone.
Symptoms of heat exhaustion include: faint or dizziness, excessive sweating, muscle cramps, weak pulse, and even cool, pale, and clammy skin.
Heat stroke symptoms include: throbbing headache, red, hot, or dry skin, strong pulse, and loss of consciousness.
Heat strokes can be deadly, but they do not strike without warning, according to Princeton Fire Dept. firefighter Nathan Hensley.
"Heat exhaustion normally comes before heat stroke. Heat stroke normally you will lose consciousness. In which that case someone needs to contact 911 and get you some medical assistance."Nathan Hensley, Firefighter at the Princeton Fire Department
Hensley also recommended ways to prevent heat exhaustion and heat stroke, which includs staying hydrated throughout the day and taking plenty of breaks.
Hensley also said if you are experiencing any symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke, then you need to remove yourself from the heat.
On days of higher humidity, our bodies are more susceptible to heat injuries, mainly because we do not sweat properly. When our bodies get above our normal body temperature of 98.6, we begin to sweat. That sweat evaporates from our skin, allowing us to cool down.
However, on days where the humidity is really high, our bodies will not sweat properly, causing our bodies to continue to warm up more and more.