The National Weather Service in St. Louis has issued an Excessive Heat Warning for the City of St. Louis beginning at 12 p.m. Sunday, August 20, through 10 p.m. Friday, August 25. The St. Louis region will experience dangerously hot conditions, with heat index values expected between 105 and 115 degrees. These temperatures and high humidity increase the chance of someone suffering from a heat-related illness.
“There are simple steps you can take to protect yourself and your family during this dangerous heat warning, including staying hydrated; keeping your air conditioner running; and limiting your time outdoors, especially during the hottest portions of the day,” said Dr. Mati Hlatshwayo Davis, Director of Health for the City of St. Louis. “If you must work outside, take frequent breaks in the shade or air conditioning to avoid heat exhaustion or heat stroke.”
Signs of heat exhaustion include heavy sweating; weakness or tiredness; cool, pale, clammy skin; fast, weak pulse; muscle cramps; dizziness; nausea or vomiting; headache or fainting,
Heat stroke symptoms can present as a throbbing headache; confusion; nausea; dizziness; body temperature above 103°F; hot, red, dry or damp skin; rapid and strong pulse; fainting or a loss of consciousness.
If you have young children or pets, never leave them unattended in vehicles, as the temperature inside can quickly rise to life-threatening temperatures. Nationwide, 17 children have lost their lives in hot-car-related incidents during 2023.
“These high temperatures can impact our friends, families, and neighbors who may live alone, especially if they limit their use of air conditioning,” says Sarah Russell, Commissioner for the City Emergency Management Agency. “We urge everyone to stop and visit loved ones to ensure they are healthy and well during this extreme heat.”
“Unhoused and unsheltered individuals are especially vulnerable during extreme temperatures,” said Adam Pearson, Director of the Department of Human Services (DHS). “DHS outreach workers will be out to ensure unhoused residents have adequate water and access to available shelter, cooling centers and additional resources to keep them safe from the heat.”
Heat-Related Health and Safety Tips for People
- Avoid poorly ventilated areas and prolonged work in the sun.
- Keep plenty of fluids on hand and stay inside, or take frequent breaks in an air- conditioned environment.
- Know the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
- Wear lightweight, loose-fitting clothing.
- Never leave children unattended in a vehicle. Check the backseat before exiting. During extreme heat, vehicle temperatures can reach lethal levels in minutes.
- Routinely check on family members, neighbors, the elderly, the 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.
- 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.
Heat-Related Health and Safety Tips for Pets
- In extreme heat, it is important that 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.
Heat-Related Services Available for Residents
- Cooldown St. Louis is helping area seniors and people with physical disabilities who qualify for new air-conditioning units and utilities this summer. Low-to-moderate-income households may also seek utility assistance through CoolDownStlouis.org. 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 individuals with physical disabilities must not have a working air conditioner.
- For cooling site information, visit the City of St. Louis Cooling Centers website, or contact the United Way of Greater St. Louis Information Referral Line at 1-800-427- 4626 or dial 2-1-1 if calling from a landline. For mobile outreach, please call the St. Patrick’s Center at 314-561-0278.
- For help with a serious heat-related illness, call 911.
- Immediately report animals in distress to the City of St. Louis Animal Care and Control division at 314-657-1500 during regular business hours. During evenings and weekends, call the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department at 314-231-1212.
- Additional tips on child safety and child injury prevention can be found at http://www.safekids.org/safetytips/field_risks/heatstroke.
- Additional tips on safety related to extreme heat can be found on the CDC website at http://www.cdc.gov/extremeheat/.