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St. Louis County reports first heat death of Summer

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FERGUSON, MO (KTVI) - The intense heat wave has taken the life of a Ferguson woman.  She was found dead inside her home on Thursday. 

The medical examiner ruled that heat was the killer of the 65-year-old.  It happened in the 1200 block Deer Ridge Drive.  A family member called police when the loved one wasn’t able to contact the victim.  When they entered the home they found the body of the victim on the bathroom floor.  The air conditioner was not turned on, it was broken.

Dr. Dolores Gun is in charge at the St. Louis County Health Department.  Dr. Gunn said, “A lot of the time what will happen, individuals on fixed incomes especially the elderly will not use their air conditioning unit when it’s very warm out simply because of increased bills they think they may have to paybut there is help out there.”

Dr. Gunn also said heat can cause confusion.  When a person stops sweating they may think they are getting better but actually it’s a dangerous time.  She said, “What happens when you’re going to the point when it’s severe heat exhaustion, going to heat stroke you stop sweating and that’s when people feel just nauseous, they’re going to lay down for a while.  What’s actually happening is the body temperature is actually risingand that is the danger point when you stop sweating.”  She said that’s when people need to seek medical help.

Folks who just need a place to cool down for the day can dial 2-1-1.  By calling that number they can learn locations of cooling centers and receive other assistance.


Get List of St. Louis Area/Metro East Cooling Centers

Heath department officials say nine people have been treated for heat-related symptoms this week in St. Louis County. One of those individuals had to be hospitalized.  The department reminds people that whenever temperatures rise above 95 degrees:

  • Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
  • Spend as little time as possible in the sun and keep activity levels to a minimum.
  • Drink plenty of cool, non-alcoholic beverages, especially those without sugar or caffeine.
  • Take regular breaks in the shade or in an air-conditioned room.
  • Eat light, easily-digested foods, avoiding hot, heavy, or greasy meals.
  • Be sure not to leave food unrefrigerated for long – food spoils rapidly in the heat.
  • Take care of those who might not be aware of the danger or able to react accordingly –especially young children and the elderly.  Check on your neighbors and relatives if they may be vulnerable or do not have air conditioning.
  • Know the signs of heat exhaustion.  If someone becomes dizzy, nauseated, or sweats heavily, find a cooler location for him or her immediately.
  • Know the signs of heat stroke.  Heat stroke is much more serious than heat exhaustion.  The symptoms are similar to heat exhaustion, but also include hot, flushed skin, and normally sweating stops.  If heat stroke is a possibility, call 911 immediately.  Heat stroke is life threatening!
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