The weather forecast calls for a hazy, hot, and humid weekend. Temperatures in the 90's and a heat index near 100 in some parts of the state could spell danger for many, including people who work outside, the elderly, and children. But there are a few things you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones from getting ill.

The Maine CDC says heat-related illnesses happen when a person's body can no longer cool itself. Some heat-related illnesses are mild, like heat rash or sunburn. But others can be serious or even life-threatening, like heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and dehydration. As a matter of fact, heat is the number one weather-related killer in the U.S.

The best way to protect yourself from suffering the ill-effects of extremely hot days and nights is to stay in an air conditioned space. If you have air conditioners in your home, keep the windows closed and the shades drawn against the intense sunlight, and keep those a/c units running. If you don't have air conditioners, close the windows and shades on the sunny side of the house and open the windows on the shady side. And as much as you can, spend time in a place that IS air conditioned. Great excuse to go to the movies or do some shopping at the mall!

Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.

If you're at home with no air conditioning and you start to feel overheated, take a cool bath or shower.

Drink LOTS of water, especially if you're spending anytime outside. A glass of water every 15 to 20 minutes is recommended to stay hydrated. Alcoholic and carbonated beverages will only serve to dehydrate you faster. WATER is best! And make sure your pets have plenty of water too!

Use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 and reapply frequently. If you're going swimming, make sure your sunscreen is waterproof.

Never leave children, pets, or the elderly in the car for any length of time, even if the windows are cracked. The temperature rises incredibly fast and becomes not only dangerous, but deadly!

If you have elderly neighbors or relatives, check on them frequently to make sure they're okay. Ask if they need anything, if they have air conditioning, and if they are drinking water. If they don't have a way to keep cool, it might be a good time to invite them over for dinner and a movie!

Finally, as much as you can, keep your pets inside. They feel the heat very quickly and aren't able to cool themselves fast enough to contend with such high temperatures. If they are spending time outside, make sure they have a shaded place to go. And always check to make sure they have plenty of water in a cool, shaded area.

Have a wonderful and safe holiday weekend, and stay safe! Summer is definitely here!