As heat indexes reach triple digit values, Springfield-Greene County Health is reminding the community of the dangers of heat-related illness for both people and pets. According to the National Weather Service, Springfield’s heat index is forecasted to reach as high as 109°F between Wednesday and Friday, and high temperatures could continue throughout the weekend. As a result, a heat advisory has been issued beginning at 1 p.m. tomorrow through Friday evening.
Heat exhaustion is the most common heat-related illness and can lead to dehydration. Symptoms include heavy sweating, paleness, tiredness, muscle cramps, weakness, dizziness or fainting, headache, nausea or vomiting. A person with these symptoms should move to a cool spot, rest and drink cool water. If symptoms worsen or last longer than an hour, they should seek medical attention.
Heat stroke occurs when the body’s temperature climbs to or above 104°F. It can be deadly. Call 9-1-1 immediately if a person has symptoms including a high body temperature, red, hot or dry skin, rapid pulse, throbbing headache, dizziness, nausea, confusion or unconsciousness.
Heat exhaustion and heat stroke occur when the body’s temperature control system is overloaded. Children, senior adults and people with chronic illness are at highest risk.
To protect people against heat-related illness:
- Drink plenty of water, even if you do not feel thirsty; avoid drinks that contain alcohol or caffeine. Also, avoid very cold drinks because they can cause stomach cramps.
- Avoid strenuous work or exercise outside during the hottest part of the day. If that is not practical, take frequent breaks and remember to drink plenty of water.
- Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
- Protect yourself from the sun with a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses, and by putting on sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher (the most effective products say “broad spectrum” or “UVA/UVB protection” on their labels).
- Never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle.
When the National Weather Service issues heat advisories, some air-conditioned facilities are available as public cooling centers. These are a good option for those without shelter and those whose homes are not air-conditioned. A map of public cooling centers, public buildings with air conditioning and water-refill stations is available at health.springfieldmo.gov/heat.
Pet owners should also follow these tips to keep animals safe in the heat:
- Do not leave a pet unattended in a hot car.
- Always make sure pets have access to cool, clean, fresh water as well as adequate food and shelter.
- Walk your dog in the morning or evening when temperatures are cooler. If you must walk mid-day, shorten the distance. And keep your dog in the grass as much as possible, as hot sidewalks can burn the pads of their feet.
- Do not leave a dog outdoors unattended on a chain or tether. Long-term chaining during the summer can result in countless insect bites, dehydration and heat stroke.
If you see a child, pet or unresponsive adult in a closed, parked vehicle, immediately call 9-1-1. For more information on staying safe in the heat, visit health.springfieldmo.gov/heat.
Media may contact the Health Department PIO Team by call or text at 417-380-2556 or email at [email protected].
Springfield-Greene County Health Department
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