How to beat the heat in the Heartland

(KFVS) - Summer has not officially started but the Heartland is already seeing some of its hottest temperatures this year.

On Monday, June 18, a heat advisory was in effect most of the day, but there are ways you can stay cool outside.

Ben Jansen, a laborer for Columbia Construction, and his co-workers were getting ready to pour concrete walls in a basement area that was more than 10 feet deep.

"You get down here and there is no wind and it's just hot," Jansen said. "And it's only going to worse from here."

Mandy Fluegge, a carpenter on the same crew, said they take consistent breaks to cool off to avoid getting overheated.

"The bandanna helps a lot to keep the sweat out of your eyes. Drink a lot, listen to your body. Eat bananas, that helps," Fluegge said. "Dress for it prepare for it take lots of fluids, get out of it when you can."

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Mike Ramsey, a training officer with the Cape Girardeau Fire Department, said high heat and humidity should be taken seriously because more than 600 people die in the U.S. every year from heat-related illnesses.

"The implications are that you could be sick, you could have a medical emergency or like we've seen in the past you can pass away and die because of it," Ramsey said. "According to the CDC, there are more people that die from heat-related illnesses than from tornadoes, hurricanes, thunderstorms, and lightning events all combined."

During a hot day at an emergency scene, Ramsey said firefighters who are overheating put a towel soaked in ice water around their neck and a forearm immersion.

"You don't want to cool down so much that you start shivering because that is going to make your body heat up," Ramsey said. "So cool down until you're stabilized and then you want to stop that cooling process."

But Ramsey said a lot of their medical emergencies calls do not come from an outside workplace.

"In fact, a fatality that I had went on when I was on the crew was somebody who was just inside the house," Ramsey said. "It was over a prolonged period of time, and they didn't have air conditioning."

Kasi Jones-Holder, a health educator at the Cape County Public Health Center said there are some methods to cool down quickly inside with A/C.

"You can always take a cool shower as well as coupling that with standing in front of your fans," Jones-Holder said. "We realize fans don't always help in excessive heat so go to your shopping centers, a mall, or the Osage center is a great place a cool environment. They have a large lobby area that allows for a lot of people."

Jones-Holder said the most at-risk groups for heat exhaustion or heat stroke are children, people over 65, people with chronic diseases and travelers who are acclimated to the humidity.

"You definitely want to listen to your body's cues," she said. "If you're getting too hot, or you're feeling faint, dizzy, nauseous or anything like that you definitely need to seek shelter immediately. If you have heart palpitation or even a weakness you need to call 9-1-1."

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