Heat wave to linger in Johnson County this week — Here’s how to stay safe

As a hot summer rolls into Johnson County, some of the Kansas City area's hospitals are already seeing a spike in heat-related illness and injuries. Above, some beachgoers at the lake at Shawnee Mission Park last week, when heat indices broke triple digits. Photo credit Grace Logan.

This summer is off to a hot start in Johnson County.

How bad is it? The National Weather Service’s Kansas City field office says this week will continue to see temperatures in the 90s, with heat indices at times reaching into triple digits.

  • Monday actually feels downright cool compared to last week, with morning temperatures in the 80s. But hot and humid conditions are expected to return with a vengeance on Tuesday, with heat indices expected to break 100.
  • Then, temperatures are expected to dip again with rain showers possible Wednesday and Thursday, but the searing heat is expected to return just in time for the weekend again.

With this ongoing heat wave, residents are encouraged to take extra precaution against heat-related illnesses or injuries.

What’s happened so far? According to a release, HCA Midwest Health’s 20 Kansas City area emergency rooms and UrgentCare centers recently saw a surge in heat-related illnesses and injuries.

  • The hospitals saw more than 20 of heat-related illnesses in a 48-hour period early last week—and hospital officials say that number is expected to increase if the heat wave continues.
  • Extreme heat could be dangerous to anyone, but children, older adults and people who work outside could be particularly vulnerable.

What does heat exhaustion look like? Heat exhaustion comes in two forms: one from lack of water and the other from lack of salt.

  • Symptoms of the first type can include excessive thirst, headaches and losing consciousness.
  • Salt depletion-related heat exhaustion can cause cramps, dizziness, nausea and vomiting.
  • Other potential symptoms include confusion, excessive sweating, pale skin and a rapid heartbeat.
  • Although it’s less severe than heatstroke, heat exhaustion can lead to heatstroke if it goes unaided—which can lead to more serious complications or death.

What do I do if I’m experiencing heat exhaustion? The best thing to do if you feel heat exhaustion coming on is to get into a cooler place.

  • If you can’t get into somewhere air-conditioned, find somewhere shady.
  • Aside from hydrating, it’s recommended to loosen or remove any clothes that aren’t necessary.
  • After you recover, take it easy for the following week- you might still be extra sensitive to high temperatures and heavy exercise.

How can I avoid overheating? On top of staying hydrated, dressing in light-colored, lightweight clothes can help you keep cool.

  • Children playing outside should also avoid hot playground equipment.
  • Keep an eye on the heat index too- heat exhaustion is a bigger risk on days with a heat index at 90 degrees or more, and this risk increases if you’re standing in direct sunlight.