FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 30, 2009
Health Department notified of second possible heat-related death
The City of Kansas City, Mo., Health Department has been notified by the Jackson County Medical Examiner’s Office that heat exposure was a possible factor in a June 23 death in Kansas City, Mo. This is the second death this year in Kansas City, Mo., where heat is being considered a possible contributor to the death. As with the first reported death, the medical investigation is ongoing, so no additional information can be released at this time.
These heat-related deaths illustrate the importance of taking safety precautions during the summer months:
• Check on your friends, family and neighbors, especially the elderly, at least twice a day.
• Spend at least two hours a day in an air-conditioned area.
• Avoid too much sun exposure and postpone outdoor games and activities.
• If you must work outside, take frequent breaks and rest in the shade.
• Drink plenty of fluids, avoiding caffeine and alcohol, which will dry you out more quickly.
• Avoid extreme temperature changes, such as taking a cold shower immediately after coming inside on a hot day; these changes could shock your body and interfere with your ability to control the heat in your body.
• Dress for the weather by wearing loose-fitting, lightweight and light-colored clothing, which reflect heat and help maintain normal body temperature. If you must be outside, cover as much skin as possible to avoid sunburn. Protect your face and head with a wide-brimmed hat.
• Never leave children, pets or others unattended in a vehicle, as the temperature inside a vehicle can quickly turn deadly.
The six categories of people at highest risk for heat-related illnesses or death include people with chronic medical conditions or who are disabled; the elderly; the economically disadvantaged; people taking medications, including narcotics, sedatives and diuretics; toddlers left in cars and infants less than 1 year old.
Heat information can be found on the Health Department’s Web site, www.kcmo.org/health. For general information on heat signs and symptoms, call the Action Center, 3-1-1. For heat information, call 2-1-1 or (816) 474-5122
Media inquiries about this topic should be directed to Jeff Hershberger, public information officer for the Health Department, (816) 840-2548 (pager).