How can you protect yourself from the scorching summer heat expected this week in the St. Louis region?
An excessive heat watch went into effect earlier this week and will last through Saturday, with the heat index ranging from 105 to 112 degrees each afternoon and evening.
The mercury is expected to reach 100 or above Thursday through Saturday, with highs only reach the mid-90s on Sunday. The wave of dangerously hot weather has prompted the opening of cooling centers in the metro-east; here’s a list.
The heat index, what hot weather feels like to the body, takes humidity into account in addition to temperature. When the air is more humid, it makes it harder for sweat to evaporate, which means that people’s bodies are less effective at cooling down.
“Heat is one of the leading weather-related killers in the United States, resulting in hundreds of fatalities each year and even more heat-related illnesses,” according to the Weather Service.
Heat cramps are an early sign that someone is dehydrated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
To fight heavy sweating and muscle cramps, the CDC recommends staying out of the sun, drinking water or a sports drink, and pausing physical activity until the cramps stop.
St. Clair County EMA Director Herb Simmons said there was one cooling center open Monday morning at the Clyde C. Jordan Senior Citizens center, located at 6755 State St. in East St. Louis. The center will be open to people from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 1 to 8 p.m. on the weekends.
Village of Glen Carbon officials announced Monday after that the community room — 149 N. Main St. — will be opened as a cooling center Tuesday through Sunday from 8 a.m. until 9 p.m.
In addition, the Glen Carbon Centennial Library will also be available for people to cool down in. It is located at 198 S. Main St. and will be Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Friday through Saturday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.
Heat exhaustion is one step up from heat cramps. It includes dizziness, nausea or vomiting, cold or clammy skin, weakness, and headaches.
For heat exhaustion, the CDC recommends sipping water, putting on wet clothes or taking a bath.
Heat stroke presents the most dangerous problem to people outside. Symptoms of heat stroke include passing out, high body temperature of 103 degrees or more, a strong or fast pulse, and other symptoms, including nausea and headaches.
Heat stroke is a medical emergency, according to the CDC. The agency recommends in situations of heat stroke that people help those in need by giving them cool cloths or a cool bath and calling 911.