National weather forecasters said this week is the hottest of the year and more than 30 million Americans are facing dangerously high temperatures.

Intense heat can cause anything from a harmless rash to life threatening conditions, like heat stroke. That's why it's important to stay as cool as possible.

Doctors at the Mayo Clinic recommend wearing lightweight clothing, protecting against sunburn, keeping hydrated and avoiding alcohol.

However, if you begin to feel faint, nauseous, develop a rapid pulse or become confused, call 911 immediately.

Older adults and those with chronic medical problems are especially susceptible to heat stroke.

Experts at the National Institute of Health recommend elderly people stay indoors on hot and humid days, especially when an air pollution alert is in effect.

Seniors without air conditioning should seek shelter in senior centers, shopping malls or libraries.

Younger, active people also need to be extremely cautious as the mercury rises.

Heat stroke death from exercise is one of the three leading causes of sudden death in athletes.

The Occupational Safety and Health Agency encourages working out in the early morning and drinking 16 ounces of water per half hour of exercise.

Once the heat index tops 103 degrees, experts say it's time to stop.

Immersing a person's whole body in ice water is the fastest way to treat severe heat illness.

More minor problems can be helped by moving to the shade, drinking fluids and stretching cramped muscles.

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