Summer is about to try to beat the area to submission after some fairly warm days in the recent past.
"Dangerous heat (is) coming this week," wrote Gary Denny, director of Harvey County Emergency Management, in an email Monday morning. "Heat indexes will reach triple digits, with very little relief over the nighttime."
The National Weather Service issued a warning of heat indexes between 103 and 108 for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Actual temperatures are expected to be between 97 and 102 each day. Overnight lows will be in the high 70s.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, there is a high risk of “heat stress” during triple-digit high temperatures. There is also a risk of heat stroke, which can lead to serious health problems.
According to the Mayo Clinic, untreated heat stroke can quickly damage your brain, heart, kidneys and muscles. The damage worsens the longer treatment is delayed, increasing your risk of serious complications or death.
The clinic recommends staying in air conditioned buildings during the heat of the day — but if that is not available, drink plenty of fluids, taking breaks and knowing where medical attention can be given in the case of overheating.
For those who cannot afford air conditioning in their home, the Harvey County Salvation Army has box fans available to help with cooling down a home. To apply for a fan, visit 208 W. Sixth or call 283-3190.
Signs of the most severe heat-related illness, heat stroke, include a body temperature above 103 degrees; hot, red, dry or moist skin; rapid and strong pulse; and altered mental status, which can range from confusion and agitation to unconsciousness. Call 911 immediately and take steps to cool the person.
Victims of heat stress may experience heavy sweating; weakness; cold, pale, and clammy skin; fast, weak pulse; and nausea or vomiting. Early signs include muscle cramps, heat rash, fainting or near-fainting spells, and a pulse or heart rate greater than 100.
According to the department, victims of heat stress should be moved to a cooler location to lie down. Apply cool, wet cloths to the body, especially to head, neck, arm pits and upper legs near the groin area, where a combined 70 percent of body heat can be lost; and have the person sip water. They should remain in the cool location until recovered with a pulse heart rate well under 100 beats per minute.
To help prevent heat-related illness:
• Spend time in locations with air conditioning when possible.
• Drink plenty of fluids. Good choices are water and diluted sport electrolyte drinks (1 part sport drink to 2 parts water) unless told otherwise by a doctor.
• Choose lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
• Limit outdoor activity to morning and evening hours.