The predicted high heat and humidity for the coming week can have a serious impact on the health of residents and visitors to Pettis County.

The summer has been fairly mild and a long week of high heat can take a toll.

The Pettis County Health Center says that although the elderly and the very young are at greatest risk from heat injury, anyone can be affected by high temperatures.

Having a chronic health problem has contributed to problems with the heat. No one is immune to the effects of the heat even if the person is strong and healthy. Never leave anyone, including pets, in vehicles especially in times of high heat.

The Pettis County Health Center urges all Pettis county residents and visitors to take the warnings about the risks related to the oppressive heat seriously.

Slow down, take frequent breaks to rest in the shade, drink plenty of water – not only while in the heat, but also before going outside for work or play and find an air conditioned place to cool off for at least part of the day. The heat stress has a collective impact upon the body. Those with chronic health problems need to be extra careful as the heat wave stretches through the week. There are a number of public buildings that are available as places to cool off. Check on neighbors and family members who may not have air conditioning at home. Elderly individuals may feel cold and wear a sweater when in reality their body temperature is rising to a dangerous level.

Pettis County Health Center reminds residents the signs of heat exhaustion include heavy sweating, pale and clammy skin, fast weak pulse, nausea or vomiting, muscle cramps, tiredness or weakness, dizziness, headache and fainting.

If you feel these symptoms, it is recommended to move to a cool place, loosen tight clothing, take a cool bath/shower or use cool wet cloths and sip water.  Seek medical care if you are vomiting, the symptoms get worse or last more than 1 hour.

Heat stroke is a more serious condition and symptoms include high body temperature (103 degrees or higher) hot, red dry or damp skin, fast strong pulse, headache, dizziness, nausea, confusion and loss of consciousness.

If someone is experiencing heat stroke, call 911. While waiting for EMS, move the person to a cool place and apply cool clothes. Pettis County Health Center says do not give the person anything to drink, particularly if the person is not alert.

The Pettis County Health Center will coordinate with city and county officials if there is a significant increase in heat injuries.

For more information, call the Pettis County Health Center at 827-1130 or visit pettiscountyhealthcenter.com.