EDWARDSVILLE – On days like Friday, when the temperature and heat index both needed to be triple digits, remembering what heat exhaustion and heatstroke are and how to avoid them is a good training course. recycling this summer.

The last weekend of Father’s Day is unlikely to be the only time this season residents will have to deal with such heat and humidity. For people born before 1985, you may remember the deadly Chicago heat wave in 1995, in which more than 700 people died.

Some summer terms you should know about include heat index, heat stroke, and heat exhaustion. According to the Illinois Department of Health, the heat index or HI is a measure of how it feels outside or the temperature plus relative humidity. It is a companion index of wind chill in winter.

The National Weather Service issues a heat advisory when the HI is expected to reach 105 F in a 24 hour period and the minimum HI during that period is 75 F or higher. Friday’s HI was forecast at 107 degrees in Saint-Louis. If temperatures in the metro area reach 100 F this year, it will be the first time since July 14, 2018. The hottest June temperature on record for the region was 108 F on June 28, 2012; The hottest temperature ever in St. Louis was 115 F on July 14, 1954. Weather records date back to 1870.

A heat warning is issued when the HI is expected to touch or exceed 115 F for at least two consecutive days and the minimum HI during the period is at least 80 F.


Heat stroke occurs when the body can no longer control its temperature. Body temperature rises rapidly, sweating stops, and the body cannot cool down. In heatstroke, it is not uncommon for the body temperature to rise to 106 ° F in 10 to 15 minutes from the normal 98.6 ° F.

Overexposure to direct sunlight, with or without physical activity, or to very high indoor temperatures can cause heat stroke. Without emergency treatment, it can result in death or permanent disability. In addition to an abnormally high body temperature, symptoms include red, hot, and dry skin; rapid pulse; throbbing headaches; dizziness; nausea; confusion; and unconsciousness.

In contrast, heat exhaustion occurs when a person spends too much time in a very hot environment, resulting in excessive sweating without sufficient replacement of fluid and / or electrolyte (salt and minerals). It can happen indoors or outdoors, with or without exercise.

Symptoms of heat exhaustion include dizziness, headache, nausea, abdominal cramps, shallow breathing, cold, clammy skin, muscle tremors, and profuse sweating. Heat injuries can develop with or without associated discomfort.

Spending as much time as possible in an air-conditioned space is the best way to stay cool this summer. It can be water, fruit juice, fruit flavored or carbonated drinks. Since aging can lead to a decrease in the feeling of thirst, older people should drink water, fruit juices, or other fruit drinks at regular intervals during the day, even if they do not have thirst. Avoid alcohol, drinks containing caffeine, and salt tablets.

Spending daylight hours in a cooler location is imperative for people who lack air conditioning in the home.

Tips for avoiding heat-related problems:

Use a buddy system. If you work in the heat, check with your coworkers and have someone else do the same for you. If you are at home and are 65 or older or have a chronic health condition, have a friend, relative or neighbor watch you at least twice a day, even if you have air conditioning. If you know someone who is 65 or older or has a chronic condition, check them at least twice a day.

Limit outdoor activities. Try to plan activities for the cooler times of the day – before noon and in the evening. When you are physically active, get frequent rest in the shade.

Drink lots of fluids. In hot weather, you will need to drink more fluids than your thirst indicates. Even if you stay indoors and limit your activity, your body still needs to replace lost fluids, salt, and minerals. Go the extra mile to drink at least six to eight ounce glasses of cool fluids a day. During strenuous exercise in a hot environment, drink two to four glasses of cool fluids every hour. Parents should make sure young children are getting enough fluids. If you are on a fluid-restricted diet or taking diuretics, ask your doctor for your fluid intake in hot weather.

Protect your body. Wear as little clothing as possible inside and loose, light-colored clothing on the outside. When spending time outdoors, avoid direct sunlight, wear a hat, and use sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) greater than 15 to protect yourself from sunburn.

Protect others. Never leave children, the elderly or pets in a parked car, even for a few minutes. The air temperature inside a car rises quickly in hot weather and can lead to brain damage or death. In many ways, dogs and cats react to hot weather just like humans do. Offer the animals extra water and be sure to place the water dish in a shady spot if outdoors. Make sure pets have a sheltered area where they can shelter from the sun.

Contact reporter Charles Bolinger at 618-659-5735