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Another Excessive Heat Warning Issued

The National Weather Service has issued an Excessive Heat Warning for most of the KSMU listening area through 7PM Tuesday August 1st. As this latest heat wave continues across Missouri and the midwest, the number of heat related deaths and illnesses

continues to rise. Mike Smith has the story:

The State health department says 13 deaths are now blamed on the heat, and a 14th is suspected. And from mid July through Sunday July 30th, more than 900 heat related illnesses have been reported.

Karen McKinnis, Community and Environmental Health Planner with the Springfield/Greene County Department of Health, describes common heat related illnesses and how to avoid them:

Based on the National Weather Service's prediction of reaching a heat index around 105°F today and Tuesday, the Springfield-Greene County Health Department has issued an Excessive Heat Warning until Tuesday evening.

Severe hot weather conditions may cause heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke. So far this summer 30 Greene County residents have sought emergency room treatment for heat-related illnesses.

Some tips to help protect against heat-related illnesses are:

Drink plenty of fluids - particularly water - to keep your body hydrated, even if you do not feel thirsty

Ø 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.)

Ø Wear light-colored, light-weight, loose-fitting clothing

Ø Eat small, frequent meals, avoid high protein foods, hot foods, and heavy meals

Ø Avoid drinks containing alcohol or caffeine

Ø Check on the elderly, young children, and pets

Ø Never leave infants, children, or pets in a parked vehicle

Ø If possible stay out of the sun. When in the sun; try to stay in shady areas, wear a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen

Ø Do not rely on fans as your primary cooling device (If you do not have air conditioning, visit a shopping center, public library, community or cooling center, or other air-conditioned facility to reduce heat stress.)

Ø Avoid sitting directly in front of a fan (Fans re-circulate room air and may actually increase your body temperature and your risk of heat-related illness.)

Ø If possible stay out of the sun. When in the sun; try to stay in shady areas, wear a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen

Ø Check with your pharmacist or doctor to find out if medication you are taking puts you at increased risk for heat-related illness

Common signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses include:

· heavy sweating

· fatigue, exhaustion or weakness

· dizziness

· fainting

· growing pale

· headache

· nausea or vomiting

· muscle cramps

Each year more people in the United States die from extreme heat than from hurricanes, lightning, tornadoes, floods, and earthquakes combined. Groups especially at risk are the elderly, chronically ill, children under 4 years old and anyone who works or exercises vigorously outdoors.

McKinnis says to avoid heat related problems with pets and farm animals, provide a fresh supply of water daily, and make sure there is a shaded area available in which to rest.

For KSMU News, I'm Mike Smith