Information current as of 9/3/2014.
Though staying cool when the weather's hot may seem like common sense, here are a few tips and reminders to help you stay comfortable and safe during those scorching summer days.
Find the active cooling center nearest you at United Way 211 or by calling United Way at 2-1-1 on a landline - or if 2-1-1 is blocked, or calling from a cell phone, please dial 800-427-4626.
- Cool Down St. Louis - program that helps get air conditioners to those in need.
- Operation Weather Survival - "a network of public and private organizations that collaborate, coordinate resources, and help educate the public to prevent illness and death caused by extreme hot or cold weather."
- In Illinois? To find a cooling center near you, call the IDHS hotline at (800) 843-6154 or visit keepcool.illinois.gov. Over 100 cooling centers across the state have opened on Sept. 10, 2013.
- Stay cool — Stay out of the direct sun and heat. Spend as many hours as possible in a cool place. Minimize physical activity. Take cool baths or showers; use cool towels. Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose fitting clothing.
- Drink plenty of water/natural juices — Cool drinks help to replenish fluid losses due to increased perspiration in high temperature. Drink at least 6-8 glasses of fluids every day. Avoid alcohol and caffeine as they cause your body to lose more water. Keep a few bottles of water in your freezer — if the power goes out, move them to your refrigerator and keep the doors shut.
- Eat regularly — Prepare easy, cool, light items. Fresh vegetable salads, tuna and meat salads, fresh fruit mixtures, whole grain products and cheeses can all contribute to cool nutritious summer meals. Hot soups and casseroles and other products served hot can make you warmer at meal-time. Avoid using cooking ovens. Avoid using salt tablets – unless directed to do so by a physician.
- Develop a buddy system with family, friends, or neighbors — Develop a personal support network of people who will check in with you at least twice a day throughout warm weather periods, and plan how you will help each other in an emergency. Watch for signs of heat stroke and/or heat exhaustion. Call for help when needed.
- Plan Ahead — Ask your doctor about any prescription medicine you keep refrigerated (most medicine will be fine to leave in a closed refrigerator for at least 3 hours). Make plans for any animals and pets. Keep a battery-operated radio on hand to hear news reports and a flashlight handy for lighting. Remember extra batteries. Do not use candles due to fire hazards. Cordless phones may not operate during power outages so keep a corded phone handy or plugged in to another jack.
- Keep Cool — Close your curtains and windows in the morning to keep the sun and heat out of your home. Open windows and doors at night to cool inside temperatures. Keep electric lights off or turned down. If you don’t have air conditioning leave your home and go to a cool safe place, senior centers, shopping malls, etc. are options.
- Call 911 if you or anyone you know needs medical attention.
(Tips via the United Way of Greater St. Louis)
And here are a few more tips regarding pets from the Humane Society of Missouri:
- Never leave a pet unattended in a parked car when the temperature is more than 70 degrees. When it’s 72 degrees outside, a car’s temperature can rocket to 116 degrees, even with the windows cracked. When it is 85 degrees outside, the temperature inside a car can soar to 120 degrees in minutes.
- Be certain outdoor pets have access to fresh, clean water at all times. Secure plastic water bowls, never metal, to the ground so your pet can't accidentally tip them over. You can dig a small round hole and place the water bowls inside.
- Ensure that your pet has access to shade at all times of the day. Your dog might be in the shade when you leave for work, but the sunlight moves throughout the day.
- If you run or jog with your dog, take frequent water breaks for yourself and your dog. Remember that asphalt and concrete get hot quickly. You have rubber soles on your feet--your dog does not. On hot days, leave your dog at home.
- Do not bicycle or rollerblade with a pet. Heat stroke and possible death can occur very quickly, particularly in hot weather.
- When the weather is dangerously hot, keep pets inside. If your pet is showing signs of heat exhaustion (excessive panting, vomiting, lethargic behavior), right away begin applying cold water to your pet's extremities. See your veterinarian immediately.