Texas public health officials are urging residents to take the proper precautions regarding the sweltering heat that is currently bearing down on the state.

So far, four people have died in the state due to heat related illnesses.  Parts of Texas have seen 16 consecutive days of 100 degree plus temperatures and triple digit temps will strike East Texas beginning today  (7/21/16) and continuing through the weekend.

All four of the deaths have occurred while residents were outside in the heat.

Health officials advise all Texans to drink plenty of water and avoid being outside during the hottest hours of the heat wave.  Wearing sunscreen and light, loose-fitting clothing is also recommended.  Of course, it goes without saying that children and pets should not be left inside hot vehicles during this time.

Symptoms of heat exhaustion include heavy sweating, paleness, weakness, muscle cramps, dizziness, headaches and fainting.

Heat stroke, which is a much more serious, potentially deadly condition, occurs when a person's body overheats, rising above 103 degrees.  In this case, sweating alone isn't enough to cool the body.  Warning signs include no sweating, throbbing headache, nausea, confusion and unconsciousness.

Should someone suffer from heat stroke, it is important to call 911 immediately.  You should attempt to cool the person rapidly by moving them to a cooler area, reduce their temperature with cool wash cloths, a cold shower or a bath.

Kids and senior citizens are at highest risk for both heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Public health officials remind residents that they currently can go to public libraries and recreation and senior centers to get out of the heat.

The city of Tyler Fire Department has put together an extensive list of agencies that may be able to assist during the heat wave.  Additionally, the report features a great deal of helpful information regarding how you can stay safe as the temperatures rise dangerously high.