Protect yourself from heat-related illnesses

Thermometer in hot sun

The National Weather Service is forecasting dangerous heat to build in the Kansas City metro midweek. Highs Wednesday and Thursday are expected to reach the mid-90s to lower 100s with heat index values above 100°F.

Johnson County has brought together several resources and information sources regarding heat safety, including information on cooling centers, at jocogov.org/heat.

If a member of the public is looking for somewhere to cool off, the 14 libraries in the Johnson County Library system all serve as cooling centers, during regular business hours. Cities throughout Johnson County also offer cooling centers, including Olathe Public Library locations and the Spring Hill Civic Center. More information about cooling center hours and locations is available at jocogov.org/heat.

“Extreme heat events have claimed more lives in the United States over the past 10 years than any other weather event, including floods and tornadoes,” said Johnson County Department of Health and Environment Director Charlie Hunt. “It is important to follow proper precautions to stay safe when it gets hot and humid outside, as heat-related illness can strike fast.”

Some of those precautions include staying hydrated, limiting time outside and wearing loose, light-colored clothing. Not taking proper precautions during extreme heat can lead to symptoms of heat-related illness. Common heat-related illnesses include:

  • Heat stroke: The most serious heat-related illness, in which the body’s temperature rises rapidly, the sweating mechanism fails and the body is unable to cool down.
  • Heat exhaustion: A milder form of heat-related illness that can develop after several days of exposure to extreme heat and lack of hydration.
  • Heat cramps: Muscle pains or spasms – usually in the abdomen, arms or legs – that may occur in association with strenuous activity.
  • Heat rash: A irritation caused by excessive sweating during hot, humid weather, which can look like a red cluster of pimples or small blisters.

Poor air quality, especially due to pollutants like ozone and particulate matter, can have detrimental effects on human health. Heat can exacerbate the negative health impacts of air pollution, leading to respiratory problems, cardiovascular issues and heat-related illnesses.

Like the weather, air quality can change from day to day. Visit airqkc.org to get the daily air quality SkyCast for the Kansas City area.

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Media Contact: PIO 1