June 25, 2013

News Release

For Immediate Release

Heat-related illness common but preventable

With temperatures rising into the 90s and summer humidity blanketing the Ozarks, the Springfield-Greene County Health Department urges residents to take steps to protect against heat-related illnesses. These 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.

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 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:

The health department coordinates with a number of community partners during the summer to provide some relief to the heat when the National Weather Service issues a heat advisory. Those efforts typically include the opening of public cooling centers, free rides on City Utilities bus lines for those who need transportation to cooling centers, and extended Park Board pool hours. When the conditions warrant these changes, the community will be alerted via a news release.

The health department also tracks the number of confirmed cases of heat-related illness reported by hospitals and emergency rooms in Springfield. Those figures, along with more tips about heat illness can be found at: http://health.springfieldmo.gov/heat.

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Harold K. Bengsch Building

227 E. Chestnut Expwy. • Springfield, MO 65802
417-864-1658 • health.springfieldmo.gov