SPRINGFIELD, IL – With high temperatures expected over the next couple of days, Illinois Department of Public Health Director Nirav Shah, M.D., J.D. is urging Illinoisans to take preventive actions to avoid heat-related illness like heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
â€œItâ€™s important for people to recognize the signs of heat-related illness and take action to prevent becoming sick.Â High heat and humidity can lead to serious health problems,â€ Director Shah said.Â â€œTo help your body cope with high temperatures, take steps to stay cool, increase your fluid intake, decrease your activities and wear appropriate clothing.â€
- Stay in air-conditioned buildings.Â Cooling centers can be found by logging onto http://www.illinois.gov/KeepCool/SitePages/CoolingCenters.aspx.
- Do not rely on a fan as your primary cooling device.
- Limit outdoor activity, especially midday when it is the hottest part of the day, and avoid direct sunlight.
- Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
- Take cool showers or baths to lower your body temperature.
- Check on at-risk friends, family, and neighbors at least twice a day.Â These may include seniors and people with chronic health conditions.
- Drink more water than usual and donâ€™t wait until youâ€™re thirsty to hydrate.
- Drink 2 to 4 cups of water every hour while working or exercising outside.
- Avoid alcohol or beverages with high amounts of sugar.
- Check the local news for extreme heat warnings.
- Visit www.dph.illinois.gov for heat related information.
Normally, the body cools itself by sweating.Â However, if temperatures and humidity are extremely high, sweating is not effective in maintaining the bodyâ€™s normal temperature.Â If the body does not cool properly or does not cool enough, a person may suffer a heat-related illness, which can become serious or even deadly if unattended.Â Warning signs and symptoms vary but may include:
People most vulnerable for heat-related illness include the elderly, those who work or exercise outdoors, infants and children, the homeless or poor, and people with a chronic medical condition.
The Illinois Department on Aging encourages relatives and friends to make daily visits or calls to senior citizens living alone. Â When temperatures and humidity are extremely high, seniors and people with chronic health conditions should be monitored for dehydration and other effects of extreme heat. Â Additionally, seniors should eat lighter meals, take longer and more frequent rests, and drink plenty of fluids.
Never leave anyone, including pets, alone in a closed, parked vehicle.Â The air temperature inside a car rises rapidly during hot weather and can lead to brain damage or death.
Log onto www.ready.illinois.gov and scroll toward the bottom for statewide weather information.