DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — It was hot Friday and it’s going to be hot across central North Carolina again this weekend.

If you plan to spend time outdoors, now is the time to be informed about heat-related illnesses and death.

According to the CDC, high temperatures kill 700 hundred people each year in the United States, but heat-related death and illnesses are preventable.

“We’re really worried about this with the heat this weekend in North Carolina and our heat is a special kind of heat because it comes with humidity,” said Dr. Joshua Broder, a physician at Duke University Hospital.

High humidity plays a role in your body’s ability to cool down.

“A big way that we lose heat efficiently is by evaporating water, sweat usually from our bodies,” said Broder. “If the air is full of water already, as in high humidity, it can’t soak up any of that wet heat from our bodies and so our cooling method goes away.”

Getting too hot can make you sick, which can lead to heat exhaustion, heatstroke and other illnesses.

“If you feel lightheaded or confused, you may be overheated. If you’re having breathing difficulty, or chest pain or a headache, you may be dehydrated and overheated,” Broder said.

People 65 and older, children under two and those with chronic diseases or mental illness are at higher risk.

But Broder says you can be vulnerable to heat at any age.

“There’s no person who’s protected from it,” he said.

To keep your cool:

  • Stay in an air-conditioned, indoor location as much as you can
  • Drink plenty of fluids, even if you don’t feel thirsty
  • Wear loose, light-colored clothing and sunscreen.
  • Pace yourself
  • Take cool showers
  • Never leave children or pets in cars

“We don’t want to see you in the emergency department,” Broder said. “We’re there for you 24 hours a day, every day of the year but we want you to be safe and healthy and so take the steps to protect yourself if you can.”

Additional Resources

Keep Your Cool in Hot Weather – CDC

Extreme Heat – Ready.gov