Perhaps you've noticed that we're in a bit of a heat wave. A handful of deaths have been reported in Missouri during this extended hot weather including one victim in Poplar Bluff.
Now is a perfect time to keep an eye on your neighbors and to offer a helping hand if someone is suffering from this heat wave.
Cooling centers have been opened in some areas and hospitals are on full alert to treat those impacted by the heat.
And though the human cost is the real concern, let me also put in a plug to monitor your pet. Animals, too, suffer during these periods, and it makes me sick to drive by a house and see dogs penned in oppressive heat conditions with little attention to their care or comfort.
The death in Poplar Bluff this week was especially troubling because it appears it was preventable. Police there said a man consumed excessive alcohol and then died in his camper which lacked air conditioning. The heat will obviously be the cause of death but the alcohol was a major contributing factor. And that in itself is sad.
Though it may not be wise, I often offer a ride when I see an individual walking in these extreme heat conditions. Thus far all of those experiences have been rewarding and the people have certainly been appreciative.
But again, I don't necessarily advise that this is a policy for everyone.
Take it upon yourself to keep a close eye on the elderly during this heat wave. With little opportunities to escape this heat, it is those most vulnerable who could suffer the most.
In no time flat, this heat wave -- like similar cold spells -- will be behind us. But in the meantime, use common sense. When the temperatures soar and the heat index reaches well above 100 degrees, it's no time to overexert yourself.
And if you're having trouble dealing with the heat, don't hesitate to ask for help. You'd be surprised the amount of support available if you only ask.