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'People underestimate the heat' | What you can do to keep you and your family safe

The Carolinas are heating up, but that also means an increase in emergency calls. Here's what you can do to make sure you don't suffer from heat exhaustion.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The first heatwave of 2021 is beaming down on the Carolinas with temperatures in the 90s expected through the end of the week. 

It's important to be prepared for any situation, especially if you're going to be outdoors during the day. 

"I think people underestimate the heat," Lester Oliva, a paramedic crew chief with Medic, said. 

Oliva said once the temperature passes 90 degrees, heat-related calls nearly double and rise rapidly. 

"It can be dangerous and we see it every year when we have a heatwave," Oliva said. 

With many excited about the summer-like temperatures moving in, it's easy to not be used to the heat especially when many have been indoors during the pandemic.

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"The hot weather is a great time to be outside, but you need to pay attention to those who are very young, and very old. Because they don't deal with the heat as good as the rest of us," Oliva said. 

RELATED: Could we see our first heatwave of the year this week?

Signs of heat exhaustion include dizziness, confusion, rapid pulse, and heavy sweating. 

Oliva said hydration is key, but also plan outdoor fun for mornings and evenings to miss the hottest part of the day. Be sure to find some shade and if you grab an adult beverage, be sure to take a rinse cycle of water. 

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"You don't want to look up and the next face you see is a paramedic standing over you saying hey, you just had a heat emergency, you're on the way to the hospital," Oliva added. 

Besides your own health and safety, you want to keep your furry friends in mind. Be sure the ground doesn't get too hot so their paws don't burn. 

RELATED: FORECAST: A hot weather weekend for the Carolinas

To check, feel the ground. If you can't stand the hot pavement on your hand for seven seconds, it's too hot for your pets, too. 

Lastly, always be sure to check your backseat, making sure not to leave an animal or child behind in the sweltering heat.

"Put something in the back of your car. Your briefcase, your shoes, something to remind you," Oliva said.

Contact Hunter Sáenz at hsaenz@wcnc.com and follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.