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How to deal with dangerous heat as it moves through St. Louis this weekend

St. Louis County Library locations are temporarily serving as cooling centers during this extreme weather.

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — Dangerous levels of heat and humidity have moved into the St. Louis area.

All 19 branches of the St. Louis County Library are serving as cooling centers, temporarily, for people who have no other respite from the heat.

Chances are, when you signed your child up for outdoor summer camp, the temperature wasn’t hovering around 100 degrees.

But it is, now.

At a soccer camp in Clayton, kids spend a lot of time inside at the Center of Clayton. But outside, at tennis camp, there are ways to beat the heat built-in to the schedule.

First of all, tennis camp only takes place in the morning hours, from 9 a.m. to noon. While kids spend some timing perfecting their forehand and their backhand, they are also provided with brief respites from the heat.

They have towels on ice for children to use to cool down, staffers have snow cones, at the ready, and they take breaks in the air-conditioning.

RELATED: Use this map to find a cooling center to beat the heat

But real heat relief comes in the form of periodic water gun fights. Kids are up for taking a break from the rigors of tennis to cool each other down with water guns. Counselors say behind tennis, it has become the No. 1 activity at tennis camp.

“Normally, the water guns – that seems to be good,” said Clayton tennis camp counselor Ava Biesterfeld. “We just fill up a really big bucket and they take the water guns and they just go at it. We refill it, and get a hose, and get the whole thing going. We do that, every day.”

“Kids in camp need to stay hydrated, wear light clothes, try to find an area in the shade and not have the direct sun, and take frequent breaks every 20-30 minutes to go inside and cool down. They can pour some water on themselves or try to find ministers or fans,” Dr. Rob Poirier, Barnes-Jewish Hospital emergency room clinical director, said.

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

It’s going to be a rough stretch over the weekend. That’s particularly an issue for people whose work requires them to be outside.

5 On Your Side found one such group of workers in Brentwood on Tuesday. They were taking out some stairs and expanding a driveway. The crew was tough and accustomed to hard work, but Jay Tellez, with C&M Concrete, said they have a hot weather plan.

“We keep water,” said Tellez. “I have a little thermos here with ice and water in it. We take breaks – little five or 10-minute breaks in the shade – just so we don’t overheat. If it gets too hot, we call it a day, come back tomorrow morning, again.”

Poirier had words of advice for crews whose work requires them to be outside in these conditions.

“Make sure that you have a cooling environment to go to probably every 30 minutes to an hour,” he said. “If you can stay in the shade try to avoid the hottest times of the day, so maybe work in the morning.”

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

Mayo Clinic officials say these are the symptoms to watch for if you suspect someone is dehydrated:

  • Extreme thirst
  • Dark-colored urine
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion

Doctors say if you are drinking enough water, your urine will be light in color and relatively clear.

Call a doctor if a loved one is irritable or disoriented, has bloody or black stool, is much sleepier than usual, or can't keep down fluids.

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