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      Heat Continues

      High heat and humidity are set to continue for the Tri-State area through Wednesday afternoon with highs in the 90s and lows in the 70s, with heat index readings near 99 degrees.

      This period of hot temperatures and high humidity could lead to possible heat illnesses. Staff at Hannibal Regional Hospital say they're beginning to see more people coming in with heat exhaustion and dehydration as well as sun burns. Nurse Practitioner Kim Peters says there are some sure signs to look out for to know when it's time to come inside to get cool.

      "If you're outside and you feel like you're sweating a lot, you're starting to get light-headed, nauseated, even some vomiting, and starting a headache, that is the definite sign that you need to get out of the heat," Peters said.

      Drink plenty of fluids, stay in an air-conditioned room, stay out of the sun and check on relatives and neighbors, especially the elderly.

      Another interesting tid-bit -- although sweating is your body's natural way to stay cool, after 75 percent humidity, sweating doesn't help you cool yourself. That means hydration and taking breaks are even more important.

      Also, be sure to remember your pets feel the heat much like you do so be sure to provide cool shelter and plenty of water.

      The best time to stay out of the sun and in the air conditioning is between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m., the hottest hours of the day. But what about people who can't afford their a/c? The North East Community Action Corporation has assisted thousands of people over the years, helping them stay cool. It's through federal funding called the Energy Crisis Intervention Program.

      "We just started the program June 1. So, if you look at it, we've actually only done 11 business days of doing this and we've already used half of the funding as of today," Melissa Williams, the Marion County NECAC coordinator said.

      Staff at NECAC are already assisting 997 homes with their electric bills, averaging about $209 for each household. NECAC has an individual limit of $300.