Three-quarters of Missouri is under a heat advisory through Friday evening. Forecasters predict daily afternoon and evening heat index values of between 100 and 109-degrees.

Dr. Chris Sampson is an emergency department physician with MU Health Care. He said there’s a correlation between the heat and the air quality, which gets worse in the summer months.

“Which really affects a lot of people who have respiratory illness combined with, though, the air quality from the fires, were also, based on colleagues of mine that worked in the northeast, they definitely saw an increase in patients who, with these respiratory illnesses, needing emergent care,” Sampson said. “So often, that just means it exacerbates your underlying disease.”

Sampson said that there are misconceptions about staying safe in the heat. He says the most common is people thinking that only the vulnerable population are at risk.

“I mean, anybody can suffer from heat stroke or heat exhaustion,” said Sampson. “I mean, unfortunately, we see that occur in people who are athletes every year when they are outside exerting themselves at very hot times in the summer. It’s just being aware that anybody can suffer from it and that everyone should always be taking precautions if they’re going to be outside in the heat.”

Most weather-related deaths, are actually heat related, according to Sampson.

“What often happens is, of course, people who are vulnerable can get dehydrated more quickly, can succumb to the effects of the heat, but really anybody who’s outside for prolonged periods of time and not getting adequate rest and are not taking enough fluids, you can develop mild dehydration or even progress to more severe moderate or severe dehydration,” according to Sampson.

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