June 16, 2015

Missouri Summer Weather Safety Week, June 21-27, calls attention to dangers of excessive heat

JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, the State Emergency Management Agency and the National Weather Service are promoting Missouri Summer Safety Week (June 21-27) to highlight the risks and dangers associated with excessive heat. Missourians can find a public cooling center near them by visiting MO.gov. Through the online cooling center directory at MO.gov, users can simply enter a ZIP code, city or county to find a cooling center nearby.

"Each summer brings days of excessive heat and humidity that can pose real health risks, particularly for people with pre-existing health issues," said Gail Vasterling, director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. "Limiting time outdoors, staying hydrated and checking on those who are vulnerable when summer's heat is most intense are the best way to avoid the potential risks. Summer Weather Safety Week is a good reminder of the simple steps we can take."

In 2014, the Department of Health and Senior Services reported 18 heat-related deaths in Missouri.

Remember these basic tips to protect you and your family during severe heat and heat emergencies:

  • Check on family, friends and neighbors who do not have air conditioning and who spend much of their time alone.
  • Never leave children or pets alone in closed vehicles.
  • Eat light, well-balanced meals at regular intervals.
  • Drink plenty of water and limit intake of alcoholic beverages.
  • Wear loose-fitting, lightweight and light-colored clothes that cover as much skin as possible.
  • Protect your face and head by wearing a wide-brimmed hat. Wear sunscreen.
  • Avoid strenuous work during the warmest part of the day; use the buddy system when working in extreme heat and take frequent breaks.
  • If you do not have air conditioning, consider spending the warmest part of the day in public buildings such as libraries, schools, movie theaters, shopping malls and other community facilities.
  • Be aware of medications that may impair the body's response to heat, including antihistamines, tranquilizers and some medications for heart disease.

The National Weather Service has additional information on staying safe during excessive heat, as well as lightning safety at http://weather.gov/stlouis/summerweathersafetyweek.

To find the cooling center nearest you, please visit MO.gov.

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