In a release Monday from the Springfield-Greene County Health Department, heat-related illnesses are approaching a four-year high.
According to the report, over 60 people have been hospitalized or required immediate medical care for heat-related incidents so far this year, the highest rate since 2018.
That number is more than double what the county saw in 2021.
A statement from SGCHD can be found below, detailing illnesses, detectable signs and what residents can do to prevent a heat-related illness.
Springfield-Greene County Health is reporting the highest rate of heat-related illness in Greene County since 2018. As of July 18, more than 60 individuals have sought emergency medical attention to address symptoms caused by heat overexposure, nearly double the rate in 2021.
According to the Greene County Office of Emergency Management, high temperatures are expected to continue through the end of July, with temperatures between 100°F and 104°F expected tomorrow through the end of the week. The Health Department is asking residents to take steps to protect themselves and their families from heat-related illness this summer.
Heat exhaustion is the most common heat-related illness and can lead to dehydration. Symptoms include heavy sweating, paleness, tiredness, muscle cramps, weakness, dizziness or fainting, headache, nausea or vomiting. A person with these symptoms should move to a cool spot, rest and drink cool water. If symptoms worsen or last longer than an hour, they should seek medical attention.
Heat stroke occurs when the body’s temperature climbs to or above 104°F. It can be deadly. Call 9-1-1 immediately if a person has symptoms including a high body temperature, red, hot or dry skin, rapid pulse, throbbing headache, dizziness, nausea, confusion or unconsciousness.
To protect against heat-related illness:
- Drink plenty of water, even if you do not feel thirsty; avoid drinks that contain alcohol or caffeine. Also, avoid very cold drinks because they can cause stomach cramps.
- Avoid strenuous work or exercise outside during the hottest part of the day. If that is not practical, take frequent breaks and remember to drink plenty of water.
- Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
- Protect yourself from the sun with a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses, and by putting on sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher (the most effective products say “broad spectrum” or “UVA/UVB protection” on their labels).
- Remember to check on older family members or neighbors who may be at greater risk for heat-related illness.
- Never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle.
When the National Weather Service issues heat advisories, some air-conditioned facilities are available as public cooling centers. These are a good option for those without shelter and those whose homes are not air-conditioned. Cooling centers include the lobbies of the following Springfield-Greene County Park Board facilities during their normal hours of operation:
- Jordan Valley Ice Park, 635 E. Trafficway
- Chesterfield Family Center, 2511 W. Republic Rd.
- Dan Kinney Family Center, 2701 S. Blackman Rd.
- Doling Family Center, 310 E. Talmage St.
The Park Board also offers extended pool hours at Silver Springs Park & Pool when heat advisories are issued. Updated pool hours can be found at parkboard.org/aquatics.
Other cooling centers in Greene County include:
- The Salvation Army Springfield, 1707 W. Chestnut from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday – Friday
While they are not official cooling centers, Springfield-Greene County Libraries are also a good option for those needing to stay out of the heat. A list of library hours and locations can be found at thelibrary.org/branches.
In people, illnesses such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke occur when the body’s temperature control system is overloaded. Children, senior adults and people with chronic illness are at highest risk.
If you see a child, pet or unresponsive adult in a closed, parked vehicle, immediately call 9-1-1. For more information on staying safe in the heat and other summer-related topics, visit health.springfieldmo.gov/summer.