About three dozen people had been treated this week at Omaha-area emergency rooms during what has been record persistent heat.
Omaha tied a record Friday for Aug. 30 with a high of 99 degrees.
Through Thursday, the week's average daily temperature in Omaha was 85.7 degrees, well above the record of 83.6 set in 1881, according to the National Weather Service.
The scorching temperatures will continue for at least one more day. Highs today are likely to be in the 90s for the ninth day in a row.
The forecast high Saturday in Lincoln will be 96 degrees leading up to the Huskers' season opener against Wyoming. The 7 p.m. kickoff temperature is expected to be about 92.
At last year's home opener, more than 300 people were treated for heat-related illness.
The Red Cross is hoping to bring that number down Saturday with more than 200 trained volunteers and an emphasis on all-day hydration, said Liz Dorland, American Red Cross spokeswoman.
Fortunately, many of the emergency room visits so far this week in Omaha have been on the less serious side.
Dr. William Gossman, assistant director of emergency medicine at Creighton University Medical Center, said the widespread use of air conditioning has helped to prevent heat illnesses from becoming severe. Those most susceptible to the heat are the elderly, outdoor workers and athletes.
Gossman said a number of elderly have been brought to the emergency room because they passed out from dehydration.
That's not surprising, he said, since the elderly don't have as good a reserve of fluids as those who are younger, and they often are taking medicines that cause them to lose water.
Additionally, older people lack the acute sense of thirst of the young.
“All they need to do is sit awhile in the heat, and they'll start succumbing to heat illness,” he said.
In Lincoln, gameday planners will use a new computer tracking system, allowing them to distribute resources efficiently if First Aid tents become overwhelmed.
Fire Battalion Chief Brad Thavenet said areas throughout the stadium have been designated as overflow cooling stations — climate controlled and stocked with water, towels and ice.
Gossman said people who will be outdoors and drinking are at serious risk of heat illness.
“When you're drinking, you're excited and having a good time and you tend not to feel the heat,” he said. “They may just think they're a little drunk.”
When that happens, the effect of heat and lack of water can quickly catch up with people.
Although Omaha hasn't seen a string of triple-digit days, record heat has occurred because of the combined effect of hot days and warm nights.
The round-the-clock heat has been wearing for those without air conditioning, Gossman said.
People who are sleeping in hot homes probably are not getting deep sleep, so their bodies aren't fully recovering from the previous day. Some of the effects they may be experiencing would include a foggy mind, muscle aches and headaches.
World-Herald staff writer Anna Gronewold contributed to this report.