Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Stay Cool This Summer!

Summer is officially upon us, and with it come temperatures in the 90s and a heat index higher than that. As St. Louis turns itself into a big brick oven, we all need to stop and figure out ways to beat the heat, and that means staying indoors as much as possible (especially if you're very young, very old, or have a heart condition) and drinking lots of water.

For some good general information on heat-related illnesses, check out these pages from the Centers for Disease Control, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, and the American Red Cross. The Missouri DHSS also has a handy printable guide to help you manage extreme heat conditions, while the CDC has some tips on helping handle the heat if you work outside.

Also, it's incredibly important to remember the effect of hot cars on kids and pets. Temperatures can skyrocket inside a closed vehicle (and cracking the windows doesn't do much), so don't leave them in the car. Safercar.gov has some some good information on the effects of hot cars on kids, as well as some tips on what to do if you see a child trapped in a locked vehicle.

But what happens if the preventative measures don't work? The CDC has a page devoted to warning signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heatstroke, the latter of which is a potentially fatal (and largely preventable) condition. The heat can also cause heat rash, which isn't as serious a condition, is still uncomfortable and can lead to infection if it goes untreated.

Finally, if nothing else, get into a cool environment! The St. Louis metro area has cooling sites available to the public, including all branches of the St. Louis Public Library. Click here for a printable list of all cooling sites in the metro area, or go to this site for a map searchable by ZIP code.

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