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Tips to Beat the Heat in Central Iowa

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- This week is going to be especially hot and doctors in the metro said it’s important to be drinking lots of water and going to cooling centers.

One of Mercy Medical’s Emergency Physicians said they have already treated numerous patients for heat exhaustion and a couple cases of heat stroke.

“This is not the week to start a new outside workout regimen. Those working out outside should trade some of those outside days for inside days,” Terry said.

Signs of heat exhaustion include:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Getting goosebumps while out in the heat
  • Muscle cramps
  • Heavy sweating

If severe heat exhaustion is not addressed heat stroke can follow.

Terry said heat stroke is not as common as people think, but it’s important to get treatment for heat exhaustion as soon as possible.

"We'll do IV fluids for them. Check their sodium and potassium and make sure there is no evidence of muscle breakdown, kidney problems as a result of dehydration. We'll do ice packs on the neck, armpits or groin to try and cool their body off. We can also use evaporative cooling and spray a little bit of water on them and then use a fan to blow cool air over them," Terry said.

Summertime is especially hard for homeless people and those who cannot regulate their body temperature.

Hope Ministries provides breakfast, lunch, dinner and a cold place to sit down to anyone that needs it at the Bethel Mission men’s emergency center.

“People do share with us that they are burdened by the heat and we hear the same thing when it’s very cold outside. The extreme elements are very difficult for people. So again we want to be a safe resource for them. So we do hear that and we try to help people as much as we can,” Kathy Coady with Hope Ministries said.

Coady said they provide overflow mats for men to stay the night at the Bethel Mission location during times of extreme heat.

There is a list of cooling centers located all across the metro on the Polk County Health Department website.