SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– Even hotter temperatures are hitting the Ozarks this week, with Thursday’s heat index forecasted to reach 106, firmly in the danger zone. As heat levels reach dangerous heights, the Springfield-Greene County Health Department has issued guidance on how to stay safe and stay out of the sun.

The best way to protect against experiencing heat-related illness is to drink plenty of water, even when not thirsty. As well, very cold drinks should be avoided as they can lead to stomach cramps. Avoiding drinks that contain alcohol or caffeine can also help protect your body from dehydration.

Other ways to stay safe include avoiding particularly strenuous work or exercise from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m., when the highest heat index values occur. As well, wearing lightweight, light-colored and loose-fitting clothing, utilizing a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses and to use sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher will help to keep you from suffering from the heat. The health department warned never to leave anyone of any age in a closed, parked vehicle.

The health department also said to watch for heat exhaustion, the most common heat-related illness, with displayed symptoms including heavy sweating, paleness, tiredness, muscle cramps, weakness, dizziness or fainting, headache, nausea or vomiting. If experiencing any of these symptoms, reach a cool location, rest and drink plenty of water.

Cooling stations, air-conditioned facilities open to the public, are opened whenever the National Weather Service issues heat advisories. Local cooling stations include:

  • 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. 

As well, the Salvation Army Springfield’s cooling center has opened. It is located at 1707 W. Chestnut Expy. and open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Cold water, restrooms and a place to sit are provided.

While local libraries are not cooling stations, the health department said they are also a good place to keep cool during operation hours.

More information on how to stay safe during the heat wave can be found on the Springfield-Greene County Health Department’s website.