County opens five cooling centers for upcoming hot weather

Five St. Louis County cooling centers will be open during the hot weather forecast for Saturday and into next week.

Three centers will be opened by the county Parks Department, and the Department of Health’s two community health centers will be available during regular business hours.

The three cooling centers in county parks will be open beginning Saturday and will remain open through Thursday, and the two health centers will be available beginning Monday.

The three cooling centers being operated by the county Parks Department are located as follows:

• Affton Community Center, 9801 Mackenzie Road, 63123; Noon to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

• North County Recreation Complex (Veteran’s Memorial Park), 2577 Redman Road, 63136; 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday; Noon to 6 p.m. Sunday and 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

• St. Vincent’s Community Center, 7335 St. Charles Rock Road, 63133; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday; Noon to 6 p.m. Sunday and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

The locations and hours of operation for the two county health centers are:

• North County Community Health Center, 4000 Jennings Station Road, 63121; 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Friday; 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday.

• South County Health Center, 4580 South Lindbergh Blvd., 63127; 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday and Tuesday; 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.

For a complete list of area cooling centers, visit:

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Operation Weather Survival, a public and private collaboration, manages a network of cooling centers around the region. People needing a cool place to go are urged to visit a one. To find a cooling center, call the United Way from a residential home at 211, or from any phone at (800) 427-4626.

Whenever temperatures rise above 95 degrees, the Health Department recommends the following:

• Turn on the air conditioning to cool the air.

• Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing.

• Spend as little time as possible in the sun and keep activity levels to a minimum.

• Drink plenty of cool, non-alcoholic beverages, especially those without sugar or caffeine.

• Take regular breaks in the shade or in an air-conditioned room.

• Eat light, easily-digested foods, avoiding hot, heavy or greasy meals.

• Be sure not to leave food unrefrigerated for long – food spoils rapidly in the heat.

• Take care of those who might not be aware of the danger or able to react accordingly –especially young children and the elderly. Check on neighbors and relatives if they may be vulnerable or do not have air conditioning.

• Know the signs of heat exhaustion. If someone becomes dizzy, nauseated or sweats heavily, find a cooler location for him or her immediately.

• Know the signs of heat stroke. Heat stroke is much more serious than heat exhaustion. The symptoms are similar to heat exhaustion, but also include hot, flushed skin, and normally sweating stops. If heat stroke is a possibility, call 911 immediately. Heat stroke is life-threatening.

Residents also are urged to consider pets whenever temperatures rise. Here are some tips for protecting pets during hot weather:

• Regularly check a pet’s water to make sure it’s clean and fresh. Ample drinking water is vital to animals during hot and humid conditions. Make sure to adjust the drinking quantity for the size and number of pets in the area. Spray pets with water to cool them off.

• Provide a shady spot for pets. A pen near trees will work, or fasten a sun-room screen to the sides and top of the pen to provide shade, too.