On hot, humid days with no breeze, anyone may be affected by heat. Heat waves are particularly dangerous for children, seniors, people with cardiovascular disease, those working in hot places and athletes. They may suffer heat stroke, heat exhaustion, or heat cramps.
A heat wave's duration plays an important role in how people are affected. Studies show that a significant rise in heat related illnesses occurs when excessive heat lasts for more than two days. Spending even two hours per day in air-conditioned spaces can significantly reduce the number of heat related illnesses.
You can search for cooling sites by zip code on the United Way's website. At times when the Cooling Sites are not available, but the weather is still hot, use the resources below to help you or a neighbor beat the heat!
NWS St. Louis Excessive Heat Advisory/Warning Criteria
- An Excessive Heat Advisory will be issued when...
the Heat Index (combination of air temperature and humidity) is expected to reach 105 degrees F, or the Heat Index is expected to range from 100 to 104 for four consecutive days.
- An Excessive Heat Warning will be issued when...
the Heat Index will reach 110 degrees F with a minimum Heat Index around 75 degrees or higher at night for two consecutive days, or the Heat Index will reach 105 for four consecutive days.
Medical Heat Emergencies
Heat Stroke (also known as sunstroke) is a life-threatening condition in which a person’s temperature control system stops working and the body is unable to cool itself.
Signs and Symptoms: Hot, red skin which may be dry or moist; changes in consciousness; vomiting; and high body temperature.
First Aid: Heat stroke is life-threatening. Call 9-1-1 immediately.
Move the person to a cooler place. Quickly cool the person’s body by giving care as you would for heat exhaustion. If needed, continue rapid cooling by applying ice or cold packs wrapped in a cloth to the wrists, ankles, groin, neck and armpits.
Heat Exhaustion typically involves the loss of body fluids through heavy sweating during strenuous exercise or physical labor in high heat and humidity.
Sign and Symptoms: include cool, moist, pale or flushed skin; heavy sweating; headache; nausea; dizziness;weakness; and exhaustion.
First Aid: Move the person to a cooler place. Remove or loosen tight clothing and apply cool, wet cloths or towels to the skin. Fan the person. If the person is conscious, give small amounts of cool water to drink. Make sure the person drinks slowly. Watch for changes in condition. If the person refuses water, vomits or begins to lose consciousness, call 9-1-1.
Heat Cramps are muscular pains and spasms that usually occur in the legs or abdomen caused by exposure to high heat and humidity and loss of fluids and electrolytes. Heat cramps are often an early sign that the body is having trouble with the heat.
First Aid: As with other heat emergencies, get the victim to a cool place. If the victim has no other injuries and can tolerate water, give one half glassful every 15 minutes for an hour.