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Heat Toll Rises, Warnings Persist

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CBS St. Louis (con't)

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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOX) - As the city limps across the finish line of a long week of smothering heat, officials continue to stress the potential consequences of the deadly high temperatures.

The number of heat deaths this summer has risen to 14 in the St. Louis area, and County Health Department spokesman Craig LeFebvre says there are now three suspected county cases.

All three deaths were in North St. Louis County. The victims include a 69-year-old woman, a 55-year-old man and a 46-year-old man. LeFebvre says the first two victims did not have air conditioning, and the latter victim’s air conditioning wasn’t working. He says even brief relief in air conditioning can make the difference.

“At least for a portion of the day you need to be in a cooler temperature,” Lefebvre says. “If you don’t have air conditioning at home, you need to go seek that out.”

St. Louis City has five heat deaths – the latest a 75-year-old woman on the 3300 block of Liberty who was found Sunday with an air conditioner that was only blowing hot air. The Metro East area has six confirmed deaths from the heat – the latest a 74-year-old Madison man found Wednesday with a broken air conditioner and the windows in his home shut.

Dr. Mark LeVine, an ER specialist at Barnes Jewish Hospital, says everyone needs to take special care during the current, seemingly endless heat wave, but some need to be on their toes even more.

“I know that a lot of people, they have to go to work, and especially if you’re working outside there’s just not a good way to avoid the heat,” LeVine says. “But as much shade as you can get in, as frequent breaks as you can take and as much fluid as you can drink is really the best thing for you.”

LeVine lists some symptoms of heat exhaustion as nausea, headaches and upset stomach – similar to symptoms of the flu.

The excessive heat warning for the area continues to be pushed back, as it was expected to end Thursday night but now is set for Tuesday. The warning has been in place for nearly two weeks amidst record-setting temperatures and swampy humidity.

Copyright KMOX Radio

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