NORTHAMPTON, Mass (WWLP) - The extreme heat and high humidity makes it harder for our bodies to cool off.
It is critical to drink lots of water during this heat wave. Those that are most at risk for dehydration are children, elderly, people with heart conditions, or those who take certain medications that cause their body to retain water.
Erica Quadros told 22news she is doing her best to avoid the heat. "Pretty much swimming everyday, it's the only way to stay cool. I have no A-C so you gotta do what you gotta do."
Dehydration is a risk during these hot, humid days; it can lead to heat exhaustion. If heat exhaustion goes untreated, it leads to heat stroke and that can be fatal.
Doctors say your best defense against these illnesses is to stay hydrated. Caffeine and alcohol dehydrate your body, and are not recommended on these hot days.
Caitlin Ott, from Northampton, works outdoors and told 22news she knows if she waits until she is thirsty to start drinking water, she may already be dehydrated.
"I just drink a glass of water every hour, that's basically what I do. I also drink coconut milk, because it's really hydrating. I try to eat a lot of fresh vegetables, also really hydrating," Ott said.
Hydrating with sports drink is important if you're doing strenuous activity outside, but doctors warn there is a big difference between a commercial sports drink and an energy drink. The caffeine in the energy drink can do more harm than good in this heat.
Some symptoms of dehydration are dizziness, nausea, vomiting, or weakness.
Other symptoms like muscle cramps, flushed skin, headaches, dark urine, or if you stop sweating are signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
Doctors warn if you feel any of these symptoms, get to a cooler place, use cold wet clothes on your head and neck, and remove as much clothing as possible. If any there is any changes in your consciousness your body may be overheating and you need to call 9-1-1.