CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A little fun in the sun never hurt you -- or did it? Whoever said that obviously never heard of heat stroke.
While temperatures may have cooled off recently, when the mercury rises again, so do the risks of heat-related illnesses and death.
"Basically, this is a bad time of the year for heat," said Dr. Rahul Gupta, executive director of the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department. "Obviously people have to watch out for not just heat exhaustion but heat stroke."
About 660 people died each year between 1999 and 2009, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Some of the most dangerous times for heat can follow natural disasters, when power is knocked out to an area and people can't cool off in the air conditioning.
In the aftermath of last year's derecho, a combination of extreme heat and massive power outages lead to 32 heat-related deaths in West Virginia, Maryland, Ohio and Virginia, according to the CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report published last month.
In West Virginia specifically, officials say three deaths -- one of which was heat-related - could be attributed to the derecho. That death was of a Pocahontas County man in his 70s was trying to clear storm damage when he succumbed to the heat, officials said.
That's why Kanawha County emergency officials bought emergency generators to power cooling stations during power outages, said C.W. Sigman, director of emergency management for the county. Several cooling stations distributed water and ice during the power outage last year.
Heat deaths and illness are completely preventable.
One of the first things to remember about preventing heat illness is to stay out of the sun during the hottest time of the day -- between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., Gupta said.
"If you have to [go outside during the day] protect your skin," Gupta said. "Wear light colors, sunscreen, [sun] glasses, a hat. It's important to protect yourself. Carry enough water even if you're not thirsty or thinking of thirst."