Central Iowa experiences its first significant summer heat event
Des Moines, IA) – Central Iowa will experience the first significant heat event of the summer beginning tomorrow. The next two days are predicted to have high temperatures and dew points especially in the afternoons. On Sunday, the heat index is predicted to be in the 100 – 105 degree range. Monday is predicted to be even hotter with heat index readings expected to approach 110 degrees. This level of heat is dangerous and has the potential to cause health-related illness and death. Health Department Officials urge individuals to take precautions during this very hot and humid weather.
“We are advising people to take precautions. High heat and humidity following a cooler summer can be a shock to our bodies because we aren't accustomed to the heat yet, especially older adults, very young children and people with physical challenges,” said Rick Kozin, director of Polk County Health Department. “A rapid and dangerous increase in body temperature is possible if the body cannot cool itself.”
For the body to cool itself, the body sweats and the moisture evaporates off of the skin. When it is humid out, evaporation doesn’t take place and the body cannot cool as well. Your body temperature can increase to a fatal 106 degrees in as little as 10-15 minutes. Two hours in air conditioning can significantly reduce the risk of health problems. Many public places such as malls, libraries, senior centers, are air conditioned and are open to the public and offer a place to get out of the heat. The following daytime cooling centers have Sunday hours:
- Altoona Public Library
- Ankeny Main Fire Department
- Clive Public Library
- Johnston Public Library
- Urbandale Public Library
- Creative Visions, Merle Hay Mall
- Valley West Mall
- Southridge Mall
- Jordan Creek Mall
Call 211 or visit the Polk County Health Department’s web site at /health/ for exact hours on Sunday or to find out about other Cooling Centers available on Monday.
Signs of heat exhaustion include feeling faint, body aches, stomach pain, nausea and elevated body temperature. Heat stroke on the other hand is an emergency situation and can be life threatening. Signs and symptoms to watch for include shock, unconsciousness and seizures.
Health Department officials would like to remind everyone to take extra precautions during the hot and humid weather:
- If you work or spend time outside, reschedule strenuous activities to early morning or evening.
- Drink a lot of cold water and take frequent breaks in the shade or air conditioning. Do not wait until you are thirsty. If you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated. Avoid caffeinated or alcoholic beverages and instead drink cold water throughout the day.
- Spend at least 2 hours a day in air conditioning by visiting family or friends with air or going to a daytime cooling center.
- Call family, friends and neighbors who do not have air conditioning to make sure they are okay.
- Wear light weight and loose fitting clothing.
- Never leave children or pets alone in a vehicle for any length of time.
For a full list of daytime cooling centers that are open Monday - Sunday, call 211 or visit the Polk County Health Department’s web site at /health/.