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Beat the heat: How kids, elderly and pets keep cool amid dangerous temps

It's important for everyone to stay safe, but especially those who are the most vulnerable.

ST. LOUIS — Across the St. Louis area, we’ll be battling high heat and humidity Wednesday, which can be a recipe for a health disaster.

It's important for everyone to stay safe, but especially those who are the most vulnerable.

Harvard researchers say extreme heat kills 12,000 people every year and sends 65,000 to the emergency room.

Kids and the elderly have the highest risk of falling victim to heat illness.

The best way to prevent overheating is by making sure the A/C is on! Don’t just rely on an electric fan to stay cool indoors. Be sure to avoid strenuous outdoor activity.

Stay well hydrated by drinking water or sports drinks, and ditch drinks with caffeine and alcohol on high heat days. Even limiting the use of the stove or oven to cook indoors can help the elderly stay cool in this extreme heat.

RELATED: How to tell between heat exhaustion and heat stroke, and how to treat them

The National Weather Service says to dress kids in loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing on days with excessive heat levels.

Make sure children are drinking plenty of fluids that aren't too cold. Kids should also avoid drinks with too much sugar.

Never leave children in a parked car, even if the windows are open. Not only is it potentially dangerous, it's illegal in Missouri.

For those needing a cool place to stay, St. Louis County opened a cooling shelter to help the homeless fight the heat.

Salvation Army-Family Haven on Page Avenue is open and can care for up to 26 people at a time. It's open 24/7 through Sept. 9.

RELATED: How to effectively cool your home during high temperatures, humidity

It’s not just important to cool the outside of your body by doing something like hopping in the pool. In heat like this, you've got to stay hydrated and protect yourself on the inside.

How much do you need to drink?

The CDC recommends, in the first hour of your day to try and drink one or two bottles of water.

By the time you've been up and moving for about four hours, you should aim to have four to eight bottles finished.

After eight hours, the CDC says you should've taken in a total of 8-16 bottles of water to help beat high heat.

Pets have a much harder time staying cool in excessive heat.

Look for these signs of heat stroke in pets:

  • Racing heart
  • High body temperature
  • Collapsing or struggling legs
  • Glassy eyes
  • Heavy panting
  • Vomiting

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