Warmer Temperatures a Week Before Unofficial Start of Summer Serve as a Reminder to Protect Your Health
The City of St. Louis may see 90°F today, which according to the National Weather Service – St. Louis office is about 10°F above normal. With temperatures this warm before the unofficial start of the summer season next Monday, residents are encouraged to protect themselves, their families, work staff, and the community from heat dangers.
“As you plan summer travel, camps for your children, or simply your day-to-day activities, consider how you can protect your family from overexposures to the heat,” says Dr. Fredrick Echols, acting director of health for the City of St. Louis. “This includes staying hydrated, schedule outdoor activities in the morning or late afternoon, and recognizing the early signs of heat-related illnesses.”
Parents should consider placing an item like a purse, wallet, or cell phone in the back seat with a child to serve as a reminder not to leave a child. One child in North Carolina has died this year from being left in a hot vehicle. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 24 children perished in 2020, and 53 children died in 2019 and 2018 after being left in a hot vehicle.
Additional measures to prevent a heat-related illness include:
· Avoid poorly ventilated areas and prolonged work in the sun.
· Keep plenty of fluids on hand and try to stay in or take frequent breaks in an air-conditioned environment.
· Know the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heatstroke.
· Wear lightweight, loose-fitting clothing.
· Continuously check on family members, neighbors, elderly, chronically ill, and friends. If they have air conditioning available, encourage them to use it.
· Replace salt and minerals: Heavy sweating removes salt and minerals from the body that need to be replaced. A sports drink can replace the salt and minerals you lose in sweat.
o If you are on a low-salt diet, have diabetes, high blood pressure, or other chronic conditions, talk with your doctor before drinking a sports beverage or taking salt tablets.
It is also essential to protect your pets during this heat.
· Keep pets are in an air-conditioned environment.
· Never leave pets alone in a vehicle. If you see a pet in an unattended vehicle, call 911.
· Watch for coolant leaking from your vehicle. A pet drinking just a small amount can cause death.
· Do not force your animal to exercise after a meal in hot, humid weather. Limit exercise to the early morning or evening hours.
· Never leave your pet standing on asphalt surfaces, as they can burn their paws.
There are numerous heat-related services available for residents:
Cooldown St. Louis is helping area seniors and the physically disabled who qualify for new air-conditioning units and utilities this summer. Low-to-moderate income households may also seek utility assistance through CoolDownStlouis.org. Only seniors may call the automated hotline at 314-241-0001 or 314-657-1599 for assistance. To be considered for an air conditioner, seniors or physically disabled individuals must not have a working air conditioner.
For help with a severe heat-related illness, call 911.
City of St. Louis Animal Care and Control, a Department of Health division, asks if you witness an animal in distress between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., please call the Citizens’ Service Bureau at (314) 622-4800. For cases outside of regular business hours, contact the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department at (314) 231-1212.
Additional tips on child safety and child injury prevention can be found on the Safe Kids Worldwide Heat Stroke website.
Please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Extreme Heat website for safety-related information on extreme heat.
About the City of St. Louis Department of Health
The City of St. Louis Department of Health is a nationally accredited public health department that serves the more than 300,000 residents of the City of St. Louis. The Department works to assure a healthy St. Louis community through quality public health services and partnerships.