Excessive Heat Preparation

During the summer months, the temperature in Illinois can reach dangerous levels. Extreme heat can be particularly hazardous for children, seniors, those with special needs, and pets. In addition to discomfort and fatigue, high temperatures can cause heat-related illnesses: heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. To protect yourself and others, please familiarize yourself with the following guidelines.

-Know the terms used by the National Weather Service during extreme heat: Heat Wave, Excessive Heat Watch, Heat Advisory, Excessive Heat Warning, and Heat Index.

-Stay out of the sun. If you must be in the sun, wear sunscreen (at least SPF 15) and a wide-brimmed hat.

-Stay in the shade or under awnings as much as possible.

-Avoid overexertion and strenuous outdoor activities.

-Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothes that cover as much skin as possible to prevent sunburn.

-Consume plenty of non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated fluids, even if you don’t feel thirsty. Water, diluted juices, and electrolyte solutions are best. Stay away from carbonated drinks.

-Avoid alcohol.

-If you are on a fluid-restricted diet or taking diuretics, consult your doctor before exposing yourself to heat.

-Keep lights in your home low or off, keep shades drawn, and avoid using the oven.

-Keep rooms well ventilated with air conditioners and fans. Keep your windows open if you don’t have air conditioning or a fan.

Note: Fans will not prevent heat-related illness when the temperature is in the high 90s.

-Cool down with cool, wet towels and periodic cool baths or showers.

-Take advantage of cooling centers, public pools, and air-conditioned stores and malls during periods of extreme heat.

-Exposure to air conditioning for even a few hours a day will reduce the risk for heat-related illness.

-Closely monitor children, the elderly, or those who require special care during periods of intense summer heat.

-Do not leave children or pets in a closed vehicle, even for a few minutes. On a hot day, temperatures inside a closed vehicle can reach 140ºF-190ºF within 30 minutes.

-Make a special effort to check on your neighbors during a heat wave, especially if they are seniors, families with young children, people with special needs, or living alone.

-Seniors and others who may be sensitive to extreme heat should contact friends, neighbors, or relatives periodically throughout the day.

-Seek help if you feel symptoms of heat-related illnesses.