American Red Cross Urges Kansas Residents to Take Precautions as Extreme Heat Strikes: Stay Hydrated, Slow Down, and Stay Indoors to Prevent Heat Illnesses

By Trish Svoboda

As extreme heat hits Kansas, the American Red Cross urges residents to take three steps to stay safe: slow down, stay hydrated, and spend time indoors. Most people in the region are under heat advisories, with heat indices expected to exceed 100 degrees for several days.

Since the 1960s, heat waves have become more frequent, intense, and longer-lasting in the U.S. Last year, approximately 2,300 heat-related deaths were reported. While 2023 was the hottest year on record, scientists warn that 2024 could surpass it.

Heat illness is preventable, and the Red Cross advises learning the warning signs and how to respond quickly to ensure safety.

Heat cramps are an early warning sign, and are characterized by muscle pains or spasms and heavy sweating. To assist someone experiencing heat cramps, move them to a cooler place and encourage them to drink water or a sports drink. Seek medical attention if the symptoms persist for more than an hour or if the person has heart problems.

Heat exhaustion is more severe and includes heavy sweating; cool, pale, and clammy skin; a fast or weak pulse; nausea or vomiting; muscle cramps; tiredness or weakness; or a headache, dizziness, or passing out. To help, move the person to a cooler place, loosen tight clothing, and encourage them to sip water slowly. Use wet cloths, misting, or fanning to help cool them off. Get medical help right away if symptoms get worse or last longer than an hour, or if they begin vomiting or acting confused.

Heat stroke is a life-threatening condition that requires immediate medical attention. Symptoms include a high body temperature, hot and red skin, a rapid or strong pulse, headache, dizziness, nausea, confusion, and unconsciousness. If you suspect someone has heat stroke, call 911 immediately. While waiting for help to arrive, move the person to a cool place and use wet cloths, misting, or fanning to help lower their body temperature. Do not give them anything to drink.

Older adults, children, pregnant women, and those with medical conditions are at higher risk of becoming ill due to the heat, however, heat can affect anyone.

For more information on how to stay safe in the heat, visit

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