Health and Wellness

Health and Wellness

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Hot Sun Extreme Summer Heat

The County Health Department Urges Caution during Periods of Extreme Heat

Every summer, the Saint Louis area experiences periods of extreme heat. It’s just a part of living in the Midwest. Because of that, it’s a good idea to review the list of precautions every year – both to remind ourselves of our options, and so we can all pass along these tips to others who may not know them or who may have moved to area recently. Another important consideration is age. As we get older, our ability to sense heat diminishes; we become less able to recognize extreme heat, and, therefore, less likely to notice the signs and take the recommended precautions.

During periods of extreme heat, the Saint Louis County Health Department strongly urges caution and common sense. Whenever temperatures rise above 95 degrees, the Health Department recommends the following:


Turn on the air conditioning to cool the air! This may seem obvious, but people often try to save money by using fans instead of air conditioning. However, fans only move the air around – they do not cool it. When temperatures rise above 95 degrees, fans can actually heat a room by circulating the hot air.


Drink plenty of cool, non-alcoholic beverages, especially those without sugar or caffeine. (Good, old ice water is always the best!)


Spend as little time as possible in the sun.


Keep your activity level to a minimum.


Take regular breaks in the shade or in an air-conditioned room.


Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing.


Eat light, easily-digested foods, avoiding hot, heavy, or greasy meals.


Do not leave food unrefrigerated – food spoils rapidly in the heat, and the hotter it becomes, the faster it will spoil.


Take care of those who might not be aware of the danger or able to react accordingly – especially young children and the elderly. Check on your neighbors and relatives – especially if they are vulnerable or do not have air conditioning. Again, remember that older people cannot always sense the heat as well as younger people, and, therefore, may not be as aware of the danger.


Know the signs of heat exhaustion. If someone becomes dizzy, nauseated, or sweats heavily, find a cooler location for him or her immediately.


Know the signs of heat stroke. Heat stroke is much more serious than heat exhaustion. The symptoms are similar to heat exhaustion, but also include hot, flushed skin, and normally sweating stops. If heat stroke is a possibility, call 911 immediately. Heat stroke is life threatening!

If you find yourself unable to keep your residence cool and need to find a cooling center, please call the United Way of Greater Saint Louis by dialing 211 from your home landline phone, or by dialing 1-800-427-4626 from any other type of phone.

For more information about local efforts to assist people during periods of extreme heat, please visit:

Operation Weather Survival

For more information about local watches, warnings or advisories, please visit:

National Weather Service (for Missouri)

For more general information about the dangers of heat and common safety tips for handling periods of extreme heat, please visit the CDC’s website:

Heat Information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Saint Louis County Department of Health Surveillance of

Heat Related Illness During Heat Advisories in 2013

June 1, 2013 to Current

Date High Temp Heat Index Treated and Released Admitted Total

Heat Advisories issued August 27 - September 1:

Tuesday, August 27 97° 98° 2 0 2
Wednesday, August 28 97° 98° 5 0 5
Thursday, August 29 98° 101° 1 1 2
Friday, August 30 102° 105° 5 0 5
Saturday, August 31 103° 106° 8 1 9
Sunday, September 1 96° 99° 4 0 4


Season Total: 25 2 27