Avoid Heat Related Illness During High Temperatures
Contact Keri Zaleski
(815)-334-4456; cell (815)-236-3238
WOODSTOCK IL – With temperatures and humidity levels expected to remain high through this weekend, McHenry County Department of Health reminds residents to take preventive actions to avoid heat-related illness. During business hours, public and municipal buildings are open to the public for cooling. As cooling centers are identified, they will be listed at www.mcdh.info and at www.McHenryCountyIL.gov.
“Recognizing signs of heat-related illness is important. High heat and humidity are not only uncomfortable, but can be dangerous.” said Susan Karras, Director of Nursing for the Health Department. “Normally, the body cools itself by sweating. When temperatures and humidity are extremely high, sweating is not always effective in maintaining the body’s normal temperature. If the body does not cool properly, a person may suffer a heat-related illness, which can become serious or even deadly if unattended.” Warning signs and treatment include:
Dehydration— Signs of dehydration include thirst, dark colored urine, dizziness, lack of energy, irritability. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to hydrate. Drink 2 to 4 cups of water every hour while working or exercising outside. Avoid alcohol or sugary beverages.
Heat exhaustion—Weakness, cold clammy skin, weak pulse, headache, cramping, fainting and vomiting are signs of heat exhaustion. For these symptoms, get into cool place, lie down and loosen your clothing, apply cool, wet cloths to your body and sip water.
Heat stroke—Victims of heat stroke have a high body temperature, reddened skin with no sweating, rapid pulse, confusion, and slurred speech. Heat stroke is a very serious condition, call 911 immediately.
According to Rachel Mintle, Emergency Response Facilitator for McHenry County Department of Health, “Those most susceptible to heat related illness include the elderly, infants, children, people with a chronic medical condition and the homeless. During this heat wave, be sure to check on vulnerable neighbors and loved ones. Never leave children or pets in the car, as car’s temperature quickly becomes dangerous and deadly.” Tips for staying cool include:
- Wear light-weight clothing that has plenty of ventilation (the fabric should “breathe”).
- Stay well hydrated. Be sure to provide pets with water and shade when outside as well.
- Exercise or schedule other strenuous activities for early morning or late evening.
- Rest in cool, shady places frequently.
- Take a cool shower.
For more information on keeping cool, visit www2.illinois.gov/ready and search “heat tips”. Cooling centers in McHenry County will be listed at www.mcdh.info and www.McHenryCountyIL.gov. On social media use the hash tags #McHenryweather or #Heatwave.