iHeard iHeard Alert

St. Louis heat wave part of rising trend in U.S. heat deaths 

From 2021 to 2023, heat-related deaths in the U.S. increased by 44%. Only 19% of St. Louis adults surveyed heard about the increase in the last week. Of 542 adults surveyed in five states, those ages 50 and older were more likely than those under 50 (39% vs. 24%) to hear that heat-related deaths are increasing, as were men compared to women (36% vs. 25%). 

Extreme heat can kill… here’s how

Heat stroke occurs when your body overheats. It is the primary cause of heat-related death. Understanding how this happens shows why prevention is so important. In high heat, your body:

  • Can’t regulate temperature. Normally, sweating and blood flow to the skin help keep you cool. In extreme heat, your body struggles to keep up, leading to dangerously high body temperature. 
  • Becomes dehydrated. High temperatures lead to more sweating. If fluids lost by sweating are not replaced, you become dehydrated and can’t sweat enough to cool off. Your body overheats. 
  • Can experience organ damage. Being overheated and dehydrated changes blood flow to vital organs, causing swelling and potential failure. The brain, heart, gut and kidneys are most at risk.  
  • Can go into shock. “Shock” is your body’s response to a sudden drop in blood pressure. It further restricts blood flow and oxygen circulation and can ultimately lead to death. 
Preventing heat stroke (and signs of trouble) 

Stay hydrated; avoid sun during high heat (especially during the hottest times of day); wear loose clothing; and stay in air-conditioned spaces when possible. If you or someone with you experiences dizziness, muscle cramps, nausea, or profuse sweating, seek medical attention immediately.  

Protect these 3 groups first 

People with existing conditions like heart disease are at greater risk of heat stroke because their bodies often cannot handle the additional stress of high temperatures. Adults over 75 also struggle to stay cool because their sweat glands may be less responsive. Infants (< 1 year) are at increased risk because their body’s thermoregulation system is still developing. 

Spread the word to prevent heat-related deaths in St. Louis 

Please share the resources below. Tell St. Louis residents to dial 2-1-1 or visit the St. Louis County and City websites for more information on locations and hours of local cooling centers in St. Louis. 

Click here to a view printable PDF about heat safety.

Survey information

his week’s report is based on responses from a panel of 542 adult residents of St. Louis, MO (n = 146), Texas (n = 53), Baltimore, MD (n = 169), Omaha, NE (n = 86), and Colorado (n = 88) surveyed June 15–17, 2024. Explore these data and more at iHeardSTL.

Download the graphics below to share about this topic.

Suggested Caption:

Remember, extreme heat can be dangerous. Stay hydrated, seek shade, and take care of yourself. Spread the word about the importance of staying cool and safe!

#iHeardSTL #HeatSafety #StayCool

Suggested Caption:

With summer heat in full swing, it’s important to remember to check in with yourself and others about how they’re feeling in the heat. Practice these tips to stay safe and healthy!

#iHeardSTL #HeatSafety #StayCool

Suggested Caption:

St. Louisans, let’s keep everyone safe and healthy during hot weather. Share these local resources with people in your life so we can all stay cool and protected from the heat ☀️.

#iHeardSTL #HeatSafety #StayCool

Suggested Caption:

Did you know that extreme heat and high humidity can worsen symptoms for those with conditions like asthma? Reach out to your healthcare provider if you experience any worsening symptoms.

#iHeardSTL #HeatAndHealth #StayCool #AsthmaAwareness

Suggested Caption:

🌡️🔥 Don’t let the heat take a toll on your health! ☀️🥵 Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are serious risks during summer. Spread awareness about heat-related illnesses and help keep everyone safe!

#iHeard #HeatAndHealth #StayCool #HeatStrokeAwareness

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *