Source: Springfield-Greene County Health Department

Greene County is experiencing the highest rate of heat-related illness since 2018.

According to the Springfield-Greene County Health Department, more than 60 individuals have sought emergency medical attention to address symptoms caused by heat overexposure as of July 18, nearly double the rate in 2021. 

High temperatures are expected to continue through the end of July, with temperatures between 100 and 104 degrees Fahrenheit expected Tuesday through the end of the week. 

This heat wave is due to the lack of precipitation this month. Less water means drier plants, air and soil which creates a hotter environment, according to National Weather Service Senior Meteorologist Doug Cramer. This month has the potential to be the hottest month in ten years based on these conditions.

The hottest point of the day is from noon to 6 p.m., according to the National Weather Service. 

The Health Department is asking residents to take steps to protect themselves and their families from heat-related illness this summer. 

Heat exhaustion is the most common heat-related illness and can lead to dehydration, a news release from the Health Department said.  Symptoms include heavy sweating, paleness, tiredness, muscle cramps, weakness, dizziness or fainting, headache, nausea or vomiting. A person with these symptoms should move to a cool spot, rest and drink cool water. If symptoms worsen or last longer than an hour, they should seek medical attention.

Heat stroke occurs when the body’s temperature climbs to or above 104 degrees. It can be deadly, the release said. Call 911 immediately if a person has symptoms including a high body temperature, red, hot or dry skin, rapid pulse, throbbing headache, dizziness, nausea, confusion or unconsciousness.

To protect against heat-related illness

  • Drink plenty of water, even if you do not feel thirsty; avoid drinks that contain alcohol or caffeine. Also, avoid very cold drinks because they can cause stomach cramps. 
  • Avoid strenuous work or exercise outside during the hottest part of the day. If that is not practical, take frequent breaks and remember to drink plenty of water. 
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing. 
  • Protect yourself from the sun with a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses, and by putting on sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher (the most effective products say “broad spectrum” or “UVA/UVB protection” on their labels). 
  • Remember to check on older family members or neighbors who may be at greater risk for heat-related illness. 
  • Never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle.

While they are not an official cooling center, Springfield-Greene County Library Branches are available to the public.

Springfield buildings with lobbies open to the public as cooling centers:

  • Jordan Valley Ice Park, 635 E. Trafficway 
  • Chesterfield Family Center, 2511 W. Republic Rd.
  • Dan Kinney Family Center, 2701 S. Blackman Rd.
  • Doling Family Center, 310 E. Talmage St. 
  • Salvation Army Springfield’s Cooling Center, 1707 W. Chestnut Expy.

Reporting intern Abigail Zajac contributed to this report.

Jackie Rehwald

Jackie Rehwald is a reporter at the Springfield Daily Citizen. She covers housing, homelessness, domestic violence and early childhood, among other public affairs issues. Her office line is 417-837-3659. More by Jackie Rehwald