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Health officials warn Michiganders to watch for heat exhaustion, heat stroke

With the highest temperatures of the season on the way, Michiganders are encouraged to keep hydrated and watch for symptoms of heat stroke or heat exhaustion.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Temperatures across West Michigan are forecasted to soar well into the 90s on Tuesday and Wednesday. Combine that with high dew point levels and humidity and heat index values will exceed 100 degrees, making it some of the hottest air of the season, and the hottest air we’ve seen in years.

Karla Black, the deputy health administrator with the Kent County Health Department, says it is key to drink plenty of fluids and pay close attention to your body over the next couple of days.

“Heat exhaustion is when you start to feel faint and dizzy from getting too hot,” said Black. “You'll tend to see like more excessive sweating, and your skin will be pale and clammy. So, you're still sweating.”

Black added, “Unfortunately, sometimes people do go from heat exhaustion into heat stroke which is a medical emergency. At this point in time, you're not sweating anymore, because you're dehydrated, you have a throbbing headache, you might be confused or have slurred speech.”

Black said the biggest difference between the two is: Heat exhaustion is you’re still sweating, while a heat stroke you aren’t sweating anymore. She said if a person is experiencing a heat stroke, you should dial 911 immediately.

Additionally, Black said it is so important to check on the elderly and young children. Oftentimes, kids and older people do not realize they are overheating, and it is important for people to make sure they’re doing well during this extreme heat event.

There are three cooling centers in Kent County (all of them located in Grand Rapids): 

Mel Trotter (225 Commerce Ave SW)

  • Cooling center hours are 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.
  • Emergency shelter hours are 3 p.m. to 7 a.m. daily. Guests will be allowed into shelter as they need.
  • They will accept all people who are experiencing homelessness needing cool shelter even those on the “No Service” list. 

Degage Ministries (144 Division Ave S)

  • The community center will remain open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and will operate as a cooling center if it is above 90 degrees. 

Crossroads Bible Church (800 Scribner Ave NW)

  • Open on Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to noon for a meal and access to the Mel Trotter shower unit. Social workers, recovery coaches and medical staff are also on-site.

Black said people should go to public places where there’s air conditioning, like a movie theater or a mall. 

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