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How to spot signs of heat stroke and exhaustion as the heat returns to the Ozarks

Published: Jul. 27, 2021 at 2:49 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Much of the Ozarks is under a Heat Advisory as temperatures rise into the high 90s.

Heat stroke and exhaustion are common during these times. And preparing is more than just drinking water.

“It is about eating the proper amount of nutrition in a given day, proper amount of sleep and parsing out your activity or your duration out in the environmental conditions,” said Dr. Raynor with Mercy.

Many in the Ozarks will open their doors to provide services and to be a cooling center for the public. The Salvation Army at 1707 W. Chestnut Expressway is open to the public as a cooling center 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday.

“When the National Weather Service issues a Heat Advisory or a Heat Warning, our building becomes a cooling center. People can sit down and drink water to cool off,” said Jeff Smith with the Salvation Army.

A Springfield couple took advantage of the cooling center because their air conditioning is out.

“We come to the Salvation army to cool off in the lobby and get a good meal. Our air conditioning went out so we have been resorting to fans. The Salvation Army is providing us with a fan so we are very grateful,” said resident Bradley Stone.

The Salvation Army is also providing fans to beat the heat. They have them available to anyone needing them.

During extremely hot and humid weather, your body's ability to cool itself is challenged. When...
During extremely hot and humid weather, your body's ability to cool itself is challenged. When the body heats too rapidly to cool itself properly, or when too much fluid or salt is lost through dehydration or sweating, body temperature rises and you or someone you care about may experience a heat-related illness. It is important to know the symptoms of excessive heat exposure and the appropriate responses. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides a list of warning signs and symptoms of heat illness, and recommended first aid steps.(NOAA National Weather Service)

According to doctors with Mercy there are common misconceptions about the difference between heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

“Heat exhaustion is more of a common occurrence compared to heat strokes. Heat strokes are a medical emergency and that attacks the central nervous system at a very different rate than heat exhaustion,” said Raynor.

Some common symptoms of heat exhaustion are feeling tired, rundown, excessive sweating, cold clammy, spending a significant amount of time outside without paying attention to your hydration status,” said Raynor.

According to Mercy when you are experiencing a heat stroke your central nervous system will be going a little haywire.

“A lot of times heat stroke exhibited by confusion, a lost sense of balance and inability to communicate effectively,” said Raynor.

If you experience a heat stroke, you need to seek help from healthcare immediately.

“When heat stroke happens we have 30 minutes to get your body rapidly cooled down before system organ failure begins,” said Raynor.

For more information on cooling centers in the Springfield and Missouri area you can click here.

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