LANSING, Mich. — In a wintery state after a long snow season, 80-plus temperatures can sometimes hit you like a brick wall.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is warning people that as temperatures surpass 80 and even 90 degrees, emergency department visits for heat-related illnesses are on the rise.

“It’s important Michiganders stay hydrated and understand the risks of excessive heat exposure during this warm weather,” said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, MDHHS chief medical executive.

MDHHS warns that the first few high-heat days of the year tend to be the most dangerous, as people are not used to the high temperatures and don’t always take necessary precautions.

If you don’t have access to air conditioning, you can text or call 211 or contact your local health department to find out if there is a cooling center nearby, according to MDHHS.

“Young children, older adults and those who have medical conditions are at increased risk for heat-related illness, so be sure to check frequently on them and others in your community who may need additional assistance,” Bagdasarian added.

MDHHS advises people to take the following precautions in hot weather:

  • Drink more fluids and avoid liquids with large amounts of sugar or alcohol
  • Limit outdoor activities to when it is coolest in the morning and evening
  • Spend time indoors in air conditioning at home or in a cooling center
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored and loose-fitting clothing
  • Wear sunscreen, as sunburn affects a body’s ability to cool down
  • Check on elderly neighbors and relatives to determine if they need assistance

MDHHS says that even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help, such as in a library or shopping mall.

The department also stresses that people should never leave children or pets alone in a car, even when the windows are cracked.

Temperatures inside a car can easily reach twice as high as the temperature outside, and a child’s body heats up three to five times faster than an adult’s.

For more information and how to spot heat exhaustion, click here.