Temperatures are rising throughout the St. Louis area, and with it the risk of heat-related illness. Take precaution during periods of extreme heat and/or humidity to keep yourself and your loved ones safe this summer! Children, older adults and sick individuals are especially susceptible to extreme heat.
Prepare for extreme heat by listening to local weather forecasts — extreme heat can occur quickly and without warning. Find places in your community where you can go to get cool, such as libraries or local cooling centers.
Stay Safe During Extreme Heat
- Find air conditioning.
- Avoid strenuous activities. Take breaks if you must be outside.
- If you go outside, find shade. Wear a hat wide enough to protect your face.
- Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
- Check on family members and neighbors.
- Drink plenty of fluids – even if you don’t feel thirsty. Avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol.
- Watch for signs of heat-related illness.
- Do not use electric fans when the temperature outside is more than 95 degrees, as this could increase the risk of heat-related illness. Fans create air flow and a false sense of comfort, but do not reduce body temperature.
- Never leave people or pets in a closed car — even with the windows rolled down.
Know the Signs of Heat-Related Illness
- Heat Cramps
- What to watch for: Muscle pains or spasms in the stomach, arms, or legs.
- What to do: Go to a cooler location. Remove excess clothing. Take sips of cool sports drinks with salt and sugar. Get medical help if cramps last more than an hour.
- Heat Exhaustion
- What to watch for: Heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea or vomiting, or fainting.
- What to do: Lie down in an air-conditioned space. Loosen or remove clothing. Take a cool bath. Take sips of cool sports drinks with salt and sugar. Get medical help if symptoms get worse or last more than an hour.
- Heat Stroke
- What to watch for: Extremely high body temperature (above 103º) taken orally; red, hot, and dry skin with no sweat; rapid, strong pulse; dizziness; confusion; or unconsciousness.
- What to do: Call 9-1-1 or get the person to a hospital immediately. Cool down with whatever methods are available until medical help arrives.