With temperatures expected to soar into triple digits, consequences can range from discomfort to medical distress.
A gift of 50 air conditioners has equipped the Samaritan Center to help people who suffer medical conditions that may worsen due to heat.
The energy-efficient window units donated by Ameren Missouri cost less than 70 cents a day to operate.
The Samaritan Center, 1310 E. McCarty St., will provide the units to people who produce a doctor's note showing the unit is for someone who has a medical need.
Marylyn DeFeo, volunteer executive director of the center, said the summer heat already has taken a toll.
The center distributed 128 box fans last week, DeFeo said, adding that many of the 1,400 families served monthly have no air conditioning or cannot afford the increased utility bill.
Respite from the heat also is available at designated cooling centers in Central Missouri.
In Jefferson City, those places include: Clarke Senior Center, 1310 Linden Dr.; Senior Center at the Mall, 3600 Country Club Drive; and the Missouri River Regional Library, 214 Adams St.
Extreme heat can be more than debilitating; it can be deadly. The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services reported heat killed 47 people in 2011, including many who suffered medical conditions aggravated by heat.
A helpful service all of us can perform is to be vigilant during periods of extreme heat.
Watch for animals showing signs of duress, including pets left in vehicles, and check on neighbors who are elderly, have medical conditions or are working outdoors.
We lessen the severity of a heat wave when we look out for and assist each other.