RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The heat and humidity are ramping up in central Virginia as we approach the dog days of summer, and this can be dangerous.

It’s important to understand the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Heat exhaustion, while not as immediately dangerous, can become deadly if it is not taken care of. Signs of heat exhaustion include dizziness, excessive sweating, clammy skin, nausea, a rapid and weak pulse, and muscle cramps.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to cool down quickly. Getting to a cooler air-conditioned place and taking a cool shower are good ways at combating this. It’s also important to drink a lot of water.

If heat exhaustion isn’t treated quickly, it can lead to a heat stroke, which can be deadly. Signs of a heat stroke include a throbbing headache, a body temperature above 103 degrees with red, hot, or dry skin, nausea, a rapid pulse, and no sweating at all.

You may also lose consciousness if you are experiencing a heat stroke. If you or anyone around you is showing these symptoms, it’s important to call 911 immediately.

Hot cars are also a big factor in heat-related illnesses. Cars can warm up very quickly in the hot summer sun leaving anyone left inside at risk. For example, a car can reach 114 degrees inside after 10 minutes of being turned off. This can be deadly. Never leave a child or a dog in a hot car.

Heat-related illness can happen to anyone, so it’s important to know the signs and how to protect yourself. Make sure that you have a way to cool off, such as a shaded area or an airconditioned place. Drink plenty of water, reduce any strenuous activities outdoors, and wear lightweight, light-colored clothing.

It is also important not to forget about your pets when it’s this hot! The pavement can heat up very quickly in the hot summer sun. Remember, if you can’t hold your hand against the pavement for more than five seconds then it is too hot for your pets to be walking on.