Staying Safe as Extreme Heat Grips Iowa

DES MOINES, Iowa – Wednesday the heat index made it to between 110 and 115 around the Omaha and Council Bluffs area and all that heat is moving into central Iowa as we go throughout the rest of the afternoon Thursday and the next couple of days.

Highs are set to climb into the upper 90s Thursday and Friday with heat index values as high as 110 or even 115 in central Iowa. An Excessive Heat Warning is in effect until 7:00 p.m. on Saturday.

We want to give you a few tips here not only to recognize the heat danger but to reinforce what happens every year. An estimated 150 people a year die of heat-related illness in the U.S. We’re talking about extreme heat any time we get two or more days in a row with high heat and humidity.

The biggest concerns come with overnight temps that don’t cool down and that really taxes the body for folks that don’t have a cool spot to be or air conditioning. With the high humidity, the evaporation is slowed of the sweat, so your body is not able to cool and has to work that much harder.

The first stage of heat-related illness is when you start to feel heat cramps. You’ll experience muscle cramps and sweating. Apply pressure to the cramps and sip water to become hydrated. Get into a cool spot.

Heat exhaustion kicks in when you start experiencing heavy sweating and feel very weak in your arms and legs. The skin becomes cool, pale, and clammy and you begin to get dizzy. Loosen the clothes and if you can take a few layers off that’s a good idea, wet washcloths can help in cooling off as well.

Heatstroke is when your body temperature becomes so high your sweat can’t recover and drop that body temperature. You’ll have hot skin dry feeling in your mouth, rapid pulse, and you could become unconscious. If you know anyone who is experiencing these symptoms, or you are yourself, call 911 or get to the hospital immediately.

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