Temperatures Are Predicted to Rise Again This Week
Eureka Fire Protection District Public Information Officer Scott Barthelmass reminds everyone of the dangers of extreme heat and how to protect from them. Death toll so far from heat is 18.
Eureka Fire Protection District Public Information Officer Scott Barthelmass said heat storms occur when temperatures exceed 100 F over a large area for three days in a row.
A heat wave occurs when high heat (90 F or higher) lasts more than 48 hours and high humidity (80 percent relative humidity or higher) is expected.
Heat-related illnesses can become serious, or even deadly, if unattended, said Barthelmass. For 2012, St. Louis health officials had reported 18 heat-related deaths as of Thursday. Fourteen of the 18 deaths have occurred in St. Louis. Two other deaths occurred in in St. Louis County and two in Madison County.
Barthelmass said some of the risks people face from too much heat exposure and not staying cool are:
- Heat Cramps: Heat cramps are muscular pains and spasms due to heavy exertion. Generally, loss of water and salt from heavy sweating can cause cramps.
- Heat Exhaustion: Heat exhaustion occurs when people exercise heavily or work in a warm, humid place, and body fluids are lost through heavy sweating.
Signs of Heat Exhaustion include:
- Cool, moist, pale, flushed or red skin
- Increased sweating, tiredness
- Fainting, nausea or vomiting
- Fast, shallow breath, dizziness
- Muscle cramps, weakness
- A weak, rapid pulse
Barthelmass warns heat exhaustion can lead to a heat stroke, which is a life-threatening condition and requires immediate emergency medical attention.
Heat strokes also are known as sunstrokes. The body temperature can rise so high that brain damage and death may result if the body is not cooled quickly.
Signs of Heat Stroke:
- Very high body temperature (more than 105 F)
- Rapid pulse
- Shallow breathing
- Hot, red, dry skin
- Throbbing headache
- Failure to sweat
How to Treat Heat Cramps or Heat Exhaustion:
Cool the body slowly. Get the person to a cooler place and have him or her rest in a comfortable position. Give fluids. If the person is fully awake and alert, give a half glass of cool water every 15 minutes. Do not let him or her drink too quickly. Do not give liquids with alcohol or caffeine in them. Loosen clothing. Remove or loosen tight clothing and apply cool, wet cloths such as towels. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number if the person appears in need of medical attention.
How to Treat Heat Stroke:
Call 9-1-1. Move the person to a cooler place. Wrap wet sheets around the person's body and fan it. If you have ice packs or cold packs, wrap them in a cloth and place them on each of the person's wrists and ankles, in the armpits and on the neck to cool the large blood vessels. Keep this process going until emergency medical help arrives.