Saturday, October 1, 2022

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Central Iowa experiences first extreme heat event; take precautions especially when outdoors


With very hot weather expected this weekend the Polk County Health Department encourages residents to take extra precautions to stay safe. Hot and humid conditions are expected in central Iowa Friday into Monday. High temperatures are forecast in the low- to mid-90s, with heat index values expected in the 90s and nearing 105 degrees at times over the weekend. In addition, overnight temperatures will be quite warm, providing little relief.

It takes our bodies a while to adjust to the changing of the seasons. This is our first extreme heat event of the season and our bodies have not adjusted to high temperatures and high humidity. Anyone is at risk for heat-related illnesses including heat exhaustion and heat stroke, especially young children, older adults, individuals with chronic health conditions and anyone spending significant time outdoors.

“We look forward to the weekend so we can spend more time outdoors. But, the conditions this weekend could be dangerous,” said Helen Eddy, Director of Polk County Health Department. “Please take extra precautions to stay safe.”

With many outdoor events going on this weekend, individuals need take the following precautions to avoid heat related illnesses:

  • Be aware of the signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Heat exhaustion symptoms include heavy sweating, cold, pale and clammy skin, nausea or vomiting, muscle cramps, headache or fainting. Symptoms of heat stroke are high body temperature, hot, red, dry skin, fast pulse, headache, dizziness, nausea or confusion.
  • Drink plenty of water. DO NOT wait until you are thirsty to drink. Avoid drinking alcoholic and caffeinated beverages as they dehydrate you.
  • Take frequent breaks in the shade or indoors. Spend at least two hours in air conditioning each day.
  • Try to avoid being outdoors in the hottest portion of the day: 11 AM to 4 PM.

“The fourth of July is just around the corner and many of us enjoy spending time outdoors,” said Eddy. “If you are exercising outdoors or doing any strenuous activity, make sure to do the activities early in the day or in the evening and not at the hottest part of the day.”

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Many public places such as malls, libraries and senior centers are air conditioned and are open to the public as daytime cooling centers. For a full list of daytime cooling centers that are open, visit the Polk County Health Department’s website at or call 211.

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