IL Public Health issues safety tips to beat the heat

With high temperatures expected over the next couple of days, Illinois Department of Public Health officials are urging Illinoisans to take preventive actions to avoid heat-related illness like heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Residents are reminded to stay in air conditioned buildings if possible. A list of cooling centers can be found at www.illinois.gov/keepcool.

IDPH also advises not to use a fan as a primary cooling device, to limit outdoor activity, and to wear loose, lightweight clothing. People should also check in with at-risk family and friends, especially seniors and people with chronic health conditions. And don’t forget to keep an eye on pets.

Make sure animals have access to shade and plenty of clean water if you’re not able to bring them in from the eat. As always, never leave a child or a pet inside a closed vehicle.

Keeping hydrated by drinking more water than usual, even if you aren’t thirsty, is also recommended. Alcoholic beverages or drinks with high amounts of sugar should also be avoided. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are risks when temperatures and humidity levels are high.

Symptoms of heat exhaustion include heavy sweating, weakness, cold, paly and clammy skin a weak pulse, fainting and vomiting. People experiencing these symptoms should move to a cooler location, lie down, loosen clothing, sip water and apply cool, wet cloths.

Heat stroke is more serious, with symptoms including high body temperature, rapid pulse and possible unconsciousness. Heat stroke is a medical emergency and 911 should be called immediately. For more information on heat safety, visit www.ready.illinois.gov.