Another Missouri heat wave is onthe way and the Department of Health says the very old and very young are mostat risk. Jessica Machetta has more.

More than half of all heat relatedfatalities in Missouri over the past eight years have been older people.

Patty Osman with the Department ofHealth says the elderly are at risk for a variety of reasons.

The Geriatric Society’s Foundationfor Health in Aging says older people may not feel as hot when temperatures aredangerously high, and they’re also less likely to feel thirsty, even whenalmost dehydrated. Seniors on fixed incomes are also more likely to resistrunning the air conditioner, a frugal measure that can be fatal.

Children are also victims of heat… and sometimes neglect. Osman says it’s never OK to leave a child in the car, even for 10 seconds, even with the air conditioner on.

Kids also have a tendency to ignore signs of heat exhaustion and dehydration and should be brought inside to cool down frequently, and given lots of water.

The Department of Health recommendsusing the buddy system to ensure the safety of our most vulnerable citizenswhen the temperatures soar.

Osman says several medications can makepeople’s systems more vulnerable to the heat. Again, especially the older population since many of them are on medication regimens.

Each year in the United States, about200 people die of health problems caused by high heat and humidity. Most of thevictims are age 50 or older.