How to keep your cool under the hot Georgia sun

Heat is the number one cause of weather-related deaths and illnesses in the United States.

Still, every summer, people say things like, "It's not the heat, it's the humidity."

In reality, it's both. FOX 5 Storm Team Meteorologist Jonathan Stacey explains. Watch the video to join the conversation.

The heat index, also known as the apparent temperature, is what the temperature feels like to the human body when relative humidity is combined with the air temperature.

When heat index values exceed 90 degrees, your health can be impacted. The higher the number, the more serious the impacts become.

Heat index threats (FOX 5 Atlanta)

The two main heat-related illnesses are heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Whenever heat exhaustion occurs, it's crucial to get the victim out of sun and into the AC as soon as possible. It's also a good idea to lay the person down and loosen their clothing. Apply cool, wet cloths to hydrate the outside of their body, and give them sips of water to hydrate the inside.

When someone experiences symptoms of heat stroke, call 911 and seek emergency medical attention immediately. Provide the same care as you would for a person dealing with heat exhaustion, but don't give the person fluids. Time is of the essence in this situation.

The difference between heat stroke and heat exhaustion. (FOX 5 Atlanta)

Heat stroke and heat cramps can also occur when heat indexes run high.

The FOX 5 Storm meteorologists always do their best to warn you before high heat takes over north Georgia.

Heat alert criterium for North Georgia (FOX 5 Atlanta)

Here are the most common alerts you'll see regarding heat:

  • A heat advisory may be issued when the daytime heat index is expected to meet or exceed 105ºF, or the daytime air temperature is expected to exceed 103ºF.
  • An excessive heat watch may be issued when the daytime heat index is expected to meet or exceed 110ºF, or the daytime air temperature is expected to meet or exceed 105ºF. These alerts can be issued up to 3 days in advance.

Be sure to look after children, the elderly, expecting mothers, and those dealing with chronic health conditions when heat alerts are in effect. Heat's impact on their bodies is oftentimes more severe.

For more educational lessons on the weather around you, download the FREE FOX 5 Storm Team app and following @FOX5StormTeam on Twitter.