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Know the signs of heat illness as temperatures rise in St. Louis

In August, we may not think twice about these conditions. But the fact of the matter is our bodies aren't used to them in the month of May.

ST. LOUIS — The heat is on Wednesday in St. Louis for the second day in a row.

"It’s not the heat, it's the humidity" is a well-known phrase in these parts. And health experts say the humidity will get you if you’re not careful. In August, we may not think twice about these conditions, but the fact of the matter is that we’re not used to them in the month of May.

Our bodies have not yet adjusted this season.

Katie Smith, SSM Health Clinical Operations Manager, oversees athletic trainers who contract at local high schools. Smith said it’s time to break out the summertime attire and hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.

She said this humidity will cause you to sweat more, and that’s good. But it’s easy to get dehydrated, as a result.

Smith said, “Our kids need to be in shorts and t-shirts, really minimal clothing to address that heat. No long pants. We had kids in pants, last week, so we need to make sure we’re dressed appropriately. Hydrate throughout the day, especially our kids who are in school all day long. Send them with a water bottle. Make sure they’re drinking 4-5 bottles of water throughout the day, while they’re sitting in school, to make sure they’re prepared for practices or whatever they’re going to do later in the afternoon.”

Smith pointed out all heat illness is preventable.

“I tell everyone to remember sweating is a very important part of our body's ability to process heat,” said Smith. “When we stop sweating, that is an emergency sign. So, when your kids are starting to get pale, when they're outside and they stop sweating, you should be very concerned. Get them in the air-conditioning and hydrated as quickly as possible. And if they don't recover within 15-20 minutes, that is an emergency and we head straight to the emergency room. That is a medical emergency.”

RELATED: How Ameren and others are getting ready for record heat in St. Louis

These are the heat exhaustion warning signs:

  • feeling faint or dizzy
  • excessive sweating
  • cool, pale or clammy skin
  • nausea, and cramping

Heatstroke is more serious, and you should seek immediate medical attention.

Symptoms include:

  • no sweating
  • throbbing headache
  • confusion or agitation
  • hallucinations
  • slurred speech, seizures, and losing consciousness.

Smith says when kids are sweating with rosy cheeks, it means their bodies are regulating themselves. It's when they stop sweating and look pale that adults need to take measures to cool them down and consider medical intervention.

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