The National Weather Service issued a heat advisory for much of south central Kansas on Monday morning, warning that heat index values of up to 108 degrees are expected through Tuesday evening.

Kevin Darmofal, NWS meteorologist in Wichita, said the heat is not unusual for this time of year.

"In the last few days, we've had some clouds and storms around, which has helped keep the heat away for a while," Darmofal said.

The heat is not only uncomfortable for many, it can be dangerous to your health.

Moundridge EMS Director Brian Falco said older adults and young children are more susceptible to heat-related illness. Those who are diabetic, overweight or drink too much alcohol can also be affected before others and the high temperatures are hazardous for those who work outdoors.

"Limit your times outdoors, if you can help it," Darmofal said. "...Take frequent breaks from the heat, get some shade and stay hydrated."

The highest temperatures each day typically occur between 3 and 7 p.m., according to Darmofal.

"Keep physical activity down to the necessities in the early morning or in the evening, after the sun goes down," Falco advised.

Those who have to be out in the heat should watch for symptoms that could indicate a need for immediate medical care such as weakness, nausea and fatigue.

"You want to just try to cool off," Falco said.

Symptoms of heat-related illness can start with muscle cramps, often starting in your calves.

"It's an indication that you're not hydrated very well," Falco said. "...Water is probably the best thing for you."

Iced tea, caffeine and alcohol should be avoided when temperatures rise, as they are diuretic and cause individuals to lose hydration. You should consume at least twice as much water as you do sports beverages like Gatorade, Falco added, in order to offset increased potassium levels.

Getting headaches and cramps or feeling faint are also signs that could indicate dehydration, heat stroke or heat exhaustion.

"Your heart rate and breathing increase and you start to feel nauseous," Falco said.

To alleviate the symptoms, you should move to a cooler environment, drink water, loosen or remove clothing and apply damp, cool towels to your wrists, the back of your neck, your chest and your groin.

With heat stroke, the body's temperature rises and people can experience hallucinations, along with a rapid and shallow pulse.

If you suspect someone is having a heat stroke, or needs immediate medical attention for any other heat-related symptoms, call 911.

"We're running these calls, with the heat being so high," Falco said.

The forecast for this week includes temperatures in the high 90s with increased humidity.

"There are a few places that might get close to 100 ... but with the humidity, it'll feel like 105 to 110," Darmofal said.

Starting Wednesday, there is a chance for thunderstorms to bring cooler temperatures along with rain, hail and high winds.

"It won't be quite as hot," Darmofal said, "but then we'll have the rain."

Contact Patricia Middleton by email at pmiddleton@mcphersonsentinel.com or follow her stories on Twitter at @MiddleSentinel.