ELMIRA N.Y. (WETM)– Heat is one of the leading weather-related killers in the United States, and knowing how to protect yourself or loved ones from the heat is essential, especially if you plan on spending hot and sunny days outside.

In New York, a heat advisory is issued for a county that will see an area with heat index values at or above 95 degrees, and in Pennsylvania the criteria is 100 degrees.

When our bodies are exposed to excessive sun and heat, it can be challenging to keep cool. Some groups of people are more easily affected by the heat than others. A few of these groups include the elderly, those with chronic illnesses, pregnant women, and young children or infants. When a heat advisory is issued in your area be sure to drink lots of water, avoid direct sun and find shade, check on vulnerable relatives and neighbors.

Knowing the symptoms of heat-related illnesses can save lives. The first sign of a heat-related illness is often heat cramps. Heavy sweating, weakness, cool/pale and clammy skin, fast, weak pulse, muscle cramps, dizziness, nausea or vomiting, can all be signs of heat exhaustion and require actions to cool yourself down such as moving into an air conditioned room and drinking cool water. A throbbing headache, confusion, hot, red, dry or damp skin, rapid and strong pulse, fainting, and a loss of consciousness are symptoms of a heat advisory, and if someone is experiencing these symptoms, call 911 as it is a serious emergency.

Being educated on how the heat can affect you and your loved ones is essential to protecting yourself from the heat. For more information on heat safety, you can visit the NWS Website here.