Never leave a child or pet unattended in a car. Get plenty of water, shade and rest. That’s the standard advice for days like today. The National Weather Service expects a high of 97, and there’s a heat alert from noon through 7 p.m. for the metro area and much of Missouri.
Despite the clouds this morning, the Weather Service says it will reach about 97 this afternoon, with high humidity. That expected to easily push the heat index past 100, enough to suggest health precautions. A cold front is coming in this evening, bringing a 50 percent chance of rain and thunderstorms, and some severe weather in places cannot be ruled out. Then it’s expected to be a few degrees cooler for a few days.
For today, however, the hot-weather suggestions are in effect:
• Cars can reach lethal temperatures in just a few minutes. Don’t leave children or pets unattended in a vehicle, even for a minute.
• Drink plenty of water or other non-alcohol fluids, even if you don’t feel thirsty. Do not drink alcoholic beverages, and avoid sugary beverages, too.
• Slow down and take it easy. Put off strenouous outdoor activities for a couple of days, or least do them during the cooler parts of the day, generally in the early morning. Stay in the coolest place available – even if that’s not indoors. But try to spend more time in air-conditioned places.
• Dress and eat for the weather. Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing, which reflects sunlight. Heavier foods, such as protein, increase metabolic heat production and increase the body’s loss of water.
• Don’t take salt tablets unless a physician tells you to.
• Avoid sunburn. It makes it harder for the body to shed heat.
It’s also important to keep an eye out for symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
Heat exhaustion is characterized by heavy sweating, weakness, skin cold, pale and clammy. The pulse if thready, although a normal temperature is possible. The victim may faint or vomit.
Get the person out of the sun. Have the victim lie down, and loosen his clothing. Apply cool, wet cloths. Fan the person or get him into an air-conditioned room. Give sips of water, but stop if there’s nausea . If vomiting continues, get medical attention immediately.
Heat stroke is even worse. There’s a high body temperature – 106 degrees or higher. The skin is hot and dry, and the pulse is strong and rapid. The victim might pass out.
It’s a severe medical emergency. Delay can be deadly. Get the person to a hospital or call for medical help. Get the victim into a cooler place, and use a cold bath or sponses to lower the body temperature. The Weather Service adds: “Use extreme caution. Remove clothing, use fans and air conditioners. If temperature rises again, repeat process. Do not give fluids. Persons on salt restrictive diets should consult a physician before increasing their salt intake.”