Hot temps and high heat index could lead to heat-related illnesses

WATCH: Hot temps and high hear index could lead to heat-related illnesses

SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. — The heatwave rolling through the Mid-South has most people spending as little time outside as possible. But if you have to be out, the type of heat we will see this week can be dangerous.

It's important to recognize the symptoms of heat-related illnesses and also know what to do if you start experiencing those symptoms.

“I plan on staying cool this week by basically staying home,” Gearldean Williams told FOX13. “If I need to, get out early in the morning.”

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FOX13 meteorologists predict a heat index of more than 100 degrees many days this week. That could lead to heat-related illnesses.

FOX13 spoke with Dr. J.O. Patterson with Methodist Medical Group to get some tips to beat the heat.

“The most important thing is to avoid strenuous physical exertion when you’re exposed to high heat and high humidity conditions,” Patterson said.

Patterson shared insight on the most common heat-related illnesses: heat exhaustion and heatstroke.

“Heat exhaustion, that stage you have a headache, sweating profusely, your skin is kind of cold and clammy,” said Patterson.

Heatstroke is very similar to heat exhaustion. The difference is confusion. It can be deadly.

“The skin may be dry. That is not a good thing, because their body has lost the ability to self-regulate,” he said.

To beat the heat this summer, health experts suggest drinking plenty of fluids, limiting sun exposure during mid-day, wearing lightweight and light-colored clothing.

Williams said she is already incorporating those things into her daily life.

“I will be staying home, in the cool, relaxing - not doing anything real hard,” she said.

Health experts say those experiencing heat exhaustion should get to a cooler spot, drink water, and take a cool shower if possible. Those experiencing a heat stroke should go to the ER.