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Amid potential heat wave in Pittsburgh area, doctors explain heat-related illness symptoms to watch for

Signs of heat stroke and heat exhaustion
Signs of heat stroke and heat exhaustion 02:12

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — With a heat wave potentially hitting the Pittsburgh area, it doesn't take long for being outside to become a trip to the hospital if you aren't paying attention. 

With several days of temperatures forecast in the 90s, doctors are stressing the importance of listening to your body.

A simple way to help yourself outside is to look for shade, as getting out of the direct sunlight can help protect you. Of course, having plenty of water goes a long way in this weather. 

"The heat is definitely on. I absolutely love it. Summer is here," Angela Fazio of Pittsburgh said on Monday. 

All this week, the heat is expected to reach dangerous levels. According to Allegheny Health Network emergency medicine physician Dr. Brent Rau, this is the type of weather to take it easy in.

"It's one of those things where even if you don't necessarily feel thirsty, take periodic breaks to get out of the sun as best as you can and stay hydrated," Dr. Rau said.

How much you should drink depends on your body type and age, but for younger children and the elderly, this weather is more dangerous.

Signs of heat stroke and heat exhaustion 

Signs that you need to get inside because of heat exhaustion include feeling dizzy, excessive sweating, cramps and nausea.

"If you are having any symptoms of heat exhaustion, you need to get inside and cool off as fast as possible and stay inside so you can feel better," Dr. Rau said.

Heat stroke is more dangerous as it involves feeling confused, not sweating and possibly losing consciousness. In that case, call 911.

If you must be outside, consider wearing clothing that covers up your body to prevent yourself from getting too much direct sunlight.

If you still want to get in a walk, run or bike ride, do that in the morning or evening as the sun goes down. This will prevent you from putting yourself in a dangerous situation, medical professionals said. 

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