Mary Jo Clark

The weather forecast for the coming days in Iowa is calling for both the temperature and the humidity levels to go higher, and health officials caution people to be prepared for the heat.

Floyd Valley Healthcare Emergency Room Manager, Mary Jo Clark, says people may be more susceptible to heat exhaustion and heat stroke since our bodies have not yet adjusted to the combination of hot temperatures and high humidity levels. She says there are several signs that a person is suffering heat stroke.

“They start to get kind of confused, their speech may be a little slurred.Their skin is no longer sweating, it is now dry because the body said ‘nope we are going to stop trying to sweat and keep the moisture inside.’ They’ll get nauseated and they’ll start to vomit,” Clark says.

Clark says in order to beat the heat, and avoid heat exhaustion and heat stroke, you will need to consume a lot of fluids.  “The recommendation really is water,” Clark says.”And the sports drinks are very good because they do replace your electrolytes. The problem is that some of them are very high in sugar content — which then makes you more thirsty and it makes you drink.” There are two beverages to avoid. “Definitely avoid caffeine and alcohol. Those are what we call diuretics. Those are going to pull the fluids out of your body,” according to Clark.

The nursing supervisor in Le Mars says to take frequent breaks and to try to stay out of the direct sunlight during the peak afternoon hours. She says the type of clothing you wear can also help prevent heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
She says a nice wide-brimmed hat that will block the sun is recommended along with long sleeves with lightweight material in light colors.

The forecast is calling for temperatures to reach the 90’s, and heat index to be in the triple-digits by the weekend.

(By Dennis Morrice, KLEM, LeMars)