St. Louis is no stranger to high heat, but the first wave of the season also can be dangerous.
Into midweek, hot temperatures combined with expected high humidity levels may result in heat index values rising above 100 degrees in the St. Louis metro area.
"Extreme heat can be very dangerous –leading to heat exhaustion, heat stroke and even death," said Melba R. Moore, Director of Health for the City of St. Louis Department of Health. "Each year more people in the U.S. die from extreme heat than from tornadoes, hurricanes, lightning, floods and earthquakes combined." Director Moore encourages residents to be vigilant at this time of year in looking out for those most at risk for heat illnesses, such as the elderly, young children, or anyone else who may be at risk.
All residents are encouraged to take precautions to stay safe in extreme hot weather. Recommendations for residents include:
- Stay in the coolest environment possible and limit or stop outdoor activity;
- Try to spend at least part of each day in air conditioning;
- Drink plenty of cool water to prevent dehydration and avoid beverages containing alcohol or caffeine;
- Check in regularly on elderly, chronically ill or home bound relatives, neighbors and friends. If they have air conditioning available, encourage them to use it;and,
- Stay informed of weather conditions.
The best protection against extreme heat is staying in an air-conditioned building. Do not rely on fans as a primary cooling source.
Safe Kids Worldwide, an international organization dedicated to preventing injuries to children, encourages parents to remember to A.C.T. in their vehicles:
A: Avoid heatstroke-related injury and death by never leaving your child alone in a car, not even for a minute. Keep your car locked when you are not in it so children cannot get in on their own.
C: Create reminders by putting something in the back of your car next to your child such as a briefcase, a purse or a cell phone that is needed at your final destination.
T: Take action. If you see a child alone in a car, call 9-1-1.
City of St. Louis Animal Care and Control, a division of the Department of Health, also wants residents to consider their pets during extreme heat. Pets should never be left unattended in vehicles, and should have access to fresh water and shade at all times.
Cool Down St. Louis is helping area seniors and the disabled with their air-conditioning and utilities;and area low-income households may also apply for utility assistance only, at 314-241-7668, or www.Cooldownstlouis.org.
For information on cooling sites, contact the United Way Greater St. Louis Information Referral line at 1-800-427-4626 or if calling from a land line phone, dial 2-1-1. For help with a serious heat related illness, call 911.