There's no doubt about it, Saturday's temperatures are going to be a scorcha' and might have some people thinking that winter isn't all that bad!

With the heat index for most of Maine in the mid to high 90's, the Maine Center for Disease Control is reminding everyone to stay cool and recognize the signs of heat illness early.

"Heat-related illnesses and deaths are preventable," said Nirav D. Shah, Director of the Maine CDC. "With hot weather, we are especially concerned about older Mainers, particularly those who live alone, because they are more likely to have serious health problems. Keeping cool, drinking adequate fluids, and lying low, along with looking after our neighbors, families, and friends will help us all to stay healthy during heat waves this summer."

In Maine, individuals over the age of 65 represent the largest proportion of people who are hospitalized for heat-related illness. Lack of air conditioning, taking prescription medication, and physical or mental health challenges common among older adults increase the potential for heat-related illnesses. It is important for family and friends to visit older adults at least twice daily and watch for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Those signs include headache, lightheadedness, weakness, rapid heartbeat, rapid breathing, nausea, or vomiting.

Although older persons are most at risk of serious heat-related illness and hospitalizations, most heat-related illness and emergency department visits occur in Mainers ages 15-64, especially men. These illnesses may be due to outdoor jobs or recreational activities.

Anyone recreating outside should pay attention during high heat conditions.

The Maine Department of Animal Welfare offers these tips for pets

  • Never leave an animal in a parked vehicle, even for a few minutes!  Even with windows open a few inches, the temperature in a parked car may hit 120 Fahrenheit within minutes
  • When running errands, leave your dog home .
  • When traveling, stop at places where your pet can get out of the vehicle
  • Provide fresh, cool drinking water at all times - including in your vehicle when you are traveling
  • Outdoor kennels must be well-ventilated and shaded, with water in bowls that will not tip
  • Do not exercise pets on hot days or warm, humid nights
  • Clip long coats to about an inch shorter clips or shaving can leave dogs vulnerable to sunburn.