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With the heat rising, St. Louis region urged to take precautions

Beating the heat
File photo | Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio
With high temperatures and humidity expected in St. Louis this weekend, health officials urge people to keep an eye on children and the elderly.

With high temperatures expected in the St. Louis region on Saturday, the heat index — a measure of temperature and humidity — could break 100, according to the National Weather Service. That means it’s a good time to take precautions against dehydration and heat exhaustion.

Twenty-five people died of heat-related causes in Missouri last year, including an 85-year-old woman who died while sunbathing at her St. Louis County retirement home. Seniors, children, and people with chronic medical conditions are at the highest risk for heat stroke.

“Especially if the temperatures are going to be above 90 degrees, we want people to take the necessary measures to prevent heat related illness,” said Dr. Fred Echols of  the St. Louis County Department of Public Health.

Know the signs:

  • Symptoms of heat exhaustion include dizziness, nausea or heavy sweating. Find a cooler spot for the person quickly.
  • Heat stroke is serious: People under duress may show symptoms of heat exhaustion and have hot or flushed skin. They may stop sweating altogether. If you suspect heat stroke, call 9-1-1.
  • Symptoms of dehydration include thirst, dark-colored urine, headaches and exhaustion.

What you can do:

  • Drink plenty of water, and avoid beverages with alcohol, sugar or caffeine.
  • When going outside, take regular breaks in the shade or in an air-conditioned place.
  • Check on neighbors and relatives who don’t have air-conditioning, or may be vulnerable to heat stroke.
  • Never leave a child or pet in a parked car without air conditioning. 
  • Cool Down St. Louis offers utility assistance and other help for low-income seniors and people with disabilities.  
  • The Missouri Department of Health keeps a list of libraries, recreation centers, and other public spaces with air conditioning, if you’re looking for a place to beat the heat.

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