The St. Louis area and much of the Midwest is under a Heat Advisory this week. Residents are urged to take extra precautions when the temperatures and the heat index climb above 100 degrees.
Everyone can be affected by excessive heat. However, there are certain populations who are more sensitive to extreme heat, these include:
- the elderly
- people with chronic health conditions, those taking certain medications and overweight people
- low income families with no access to air conditioning
- infants and children
- outdoor laborers
To keep yourself and loved ones safe during a Heat Advisory, following these steps:
- Use common sense and pace yourself
- Drink plenty of water throughout the day – don’t wait until you are thirsty
- Replace lost salt and minerals by drinking sports beverages
- Avoid alcohol and drinks containing large amounts of sugar
- Wear loose, light-colored clothing and a large brimmed hat
- Wear and reapply sunscreen as directed on the package
- Schedule activities early in the morning or later in the evening – avoid midday
- Use your air-conditioner if you have one
- If you don’t have air-conditioning, find a local cool-down shelter in your area
- Don’t use your stove or oven to cook, as it will make you and your home hotter
- Take cool showers or baths to cool down
- Check on friends and neighbors; have someone do the same for you
The United Way operates several cooling shelters throughout metropolitan St. Louis and southwestern Illinois. Check the list to find a shelter near you: 2017 Missouri & Southwestern Illinois Cooling Centers
Knowing the signs and treatment for heat-related illness is important and can mean the difference between life and death. Below is a breakdown of the various stages and the appropriate first-aid solutions.
Heat cramps may be the first sign of heat-related illness and may lead to heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
Painful muscle cramps and spasms usually in legs and abdomen
Apply firm pressure on cramping muscles or gently massage to relieve spasm.
Give sips of water unless the person complains of nausea, then stop giving water.
Cool, pale, clammy skin
Fast weak pulse
Move person to cool place
Lay person down and loosen clothing
Apply cool, wet clothes to as much of the body as possible
Fan or move victim to air-conditioned room
Offer sips of water
If person vomits more than once, seek medical attention
Altered mental state
Shallow breathing, confusion, throbbing headache, nausea, dizziness
Body temp above 103 degrees
Hot red, dry or moist skin
Rapid and strong pulse
Fainting or lose of consciousness
Heat stroke is a severe medical emergency. Call 911 and get victim to hospital immediately, as it can be fatal.
Move victim to cool, air-conditioned environment
Reduce body temperature with cool clothes or bath
Use a fan to cool the person, only if heat index temperatures are lower than high 90’s (if heat index is higher than high 90’s, using a fan can make a person hotter)
Do NOT give fluids
Casey & Devoti is a St. Louis-based personal injury law firm. Together Partners Matt Casey and Matt Devoti have nearly 40 years of trial experience. They handle a variety of personal injury matters, including: car, truck and train accidents, victims of impaired and distracted driving, medical malpractice and birth injuries, product liability, slips/trips/falls, elder care and sexual abuse, Workers’ Compensation, and wrongful death. Matt and Matt proudly serve clients throughout metropolitan St. Louis, southeastern Missouri and southern Illinois. If you or a loved one have been injured by the negligence of another, call the office today for a free, no-obligation consultation: (314) 421-0763.