Missourians urged to prepare for heat, humidity

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Health and Senior Services Director Margaret Donnelly is warning Missourians to take precautions for the heat.

Donnelly says hot, humid weather can cause illness and death with little warning, particularly among senior citizens and young children. Between 2000 and 2008, 203 people died in Missouri from heat-related causes.

Medications such as antihistamines, sleeping pills and antidepressants impair the body's natural response to high temperatures.

In St. Louis, a forecast for excessive heat expected through Friday has prompted officials to issue a heat advisory. The city health department says citizens should avoid prolonged work in the sun or in poorly ventilated areas.

The department also urges people to drink plenty of fluids and try to stay in an air-conditioned building.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.