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Extreme heat causing illnesses

Health officials are encouraging residents to take precautions in this extreme heat.

Mineral Area Regional Medical Center has had two reports of heat-related illnesses during this 100-degree-plus heat. Parkland Health Center hasn’t had any that could be specifically classified as “heat-related.”

Chris Westrich, public relations director for Mineral Area Regional Medical Center, said warning signs of heat-related illnesses include profuse sweating, weakness, muscle cramps, headaches, nausea or vomiting, and fainting. She said it doesn’t take very long for cramping to come on.

Dr. Dwayne Damba, director of Mineral Area Regional’s Emergency Department, said those who experience symptoms should call their doctor. If symptoms are severe, seek medical attention at the nearest emergency room.

Other tips include moving to a cooler location; lying down and loosening clothing; applying a cool wet cloth to your body; and sipping water.

He recommends limiting outdoor activities, especially strenous activity during the heat of the day. If you have to work outdoors, take frequent breaks and stay hydrated with water or sports drinks. Avoid caffeine and alcohol.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends drinking two to four cups of water every hour while working or exercising outside.

Cooling centers are available for residents. For more information, call 573-431-3131 or 211. Farmington Civic Center Director Bill Towler said the Farmington Civic Center meeting rooms are open to the public. There is no food or entertainment provided inside but people are welcome to come in to stay cool.

The CDC recommends these precautions to prevent heat-related illnesses and deaths:

Stay in an air-conditioned indoor location.

Drink plenty of fluids.

Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing and sunscreen.

Schedule outdoor activities carefully.

Pace yourself.

Take cool showers or baths to cool down.

Check on a friend or neighbor and have someone do the same for you.

Do not leave children in cars.

Check the local news for health and safety updates.

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