(FOX 2) - When temperatures begin to climb, so does the risk of suffering a heat emergency.
According to Cleveland Clinic's Dr. Tom Waters, knowing the warning signs of heat illness is key to preventing a dangerous situation.
"You might start to get a headache; you might start to feel a little nauseous; certainly if you're feeling dizzy, those are all signs that you're getting dehydrated and you may be in a set-up for a heat emergency," he says.
Dr. Waters says a heat-related illness can vary from mild dehydration to heat cramps, to heat exhaustion, or all the way to full blown heat stroke, which is a life threatening emergency. Avoiding heat stroke is important, as heat stroke can cause damage to the heart, liver, kidneys, muscles, nervous system and can lead to death.
If you notice a loved one is feeling poorly, especially if they're having trouble thinking, Dr. Waters says this could mean they're suffering a heat stroke and it's time to take action.
"You notice that they're not acting right, certainly if they're acting confused, or they're just not themselves, that's a sign that they could be developing heat stroke, and you need to definitely get them removed from the heat, and if they do not recover quickly from that, and certainly if they do have that altered mental status, you need to get them to the closest emergency department right away," Dr. Waters says.
If you're trying to cool someone down, you're going to want to find a cool tub of water, or a fan, or wet towels to go on the head, neck, armpits and groin.
If you know you're going to be out in the heat, Dr. Waters says you need to make sure you are hydrated both before and during the heat exposure.
Dr. Waters says very young children and the elderly are the most susceptible to heat stress. Infants and young children cannot adapt to the heat on their own, and the elderly sometimes have medications that make it difficult for them to regulate body temperature - so keep a close eye on those two groups.