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Chad Myers: Body can't cool itself in hot weather

CNN Meteorologist Chad Myers  

(CNN) -- CNN Meteorologist Chad Myers is monitoring skyrocketing temperatures across much of the United States on Wednesday. He offered tips on how to avoid heat stroke, while explaining why triple-digit temperatures play havoc with the body's cooling system.

MYERS: I'm not a doctor, but it's not so much the heat that residents of the Central Plains are experiencing today, it's the heat combined with the humidity. The heat index is an index based on what conditions make the body feel like. Your body cools off by sweating, by perspiring and that sweat evaporates.

That evaporation cools your body. When it's so muggy outside sweat can't evaporate, so your body can't cool itself. That's why you have to stay out of the heat. That's why you really need to be near a fan or in the shade, somewhere where you can keep yourself hydrated because your body is trying to sweat to cool itself, but yet it's not evaporating so you're not getting any cooler than you were before.

States under heat advisory  

We have excessive heat warnings and heat advisories all the way from Michigan to the Gulf Coast. The heat index is 110 degrees (Fahrenheit) in some spots, to above that -- 115 in St. Louis, Missouri; Little Rock, Arkansas, and Chicago, Illinois.

Chicago really is the bull's-eye today. It's the farthest, biggest northern city that we have significant excessive heat warnings for in the region. And that means residents need to stay out of the sunshine, drink plenty of water, check on pets. Make sure they have plenty of water and maybe some shade as well, and make sure that the kids don't get out there and play too much this afternoon.

Make sure the elderly without air conditioning have fans, if you can. Many older Americans try to save money by not turning on the air conditioning. But this really is the day to turn on the air conditioner and try to keep yourself cool.

If you're in Chicago, try to go to the lake shore, even find a movie theater where you can find a matinee in the middle of the day.

We had problems in Minnesota on Tuesday with the heat index at 111, and Chicago is going to have the exact same conditions today from Chicago to St. Louis, all the way down to Kansas City, if you really don't have to be outside you shouldn't.

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