SPRINGFIELD — With dangerously high levels of heat forecast across the state of Illinois in the coming days, including heat index forecasts in excess of 100
degrees, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and other state agencies are warning Illinoisans to take preventive actions to avoid heat-related illness like heat exhaustion and heatstroke.
“Exposure to extreme heat can cause serious health complications, including
heat exhaustion and heatstroke,” said IDPH Director Sameer Vohra. “With dangerously high temperatures and humidity in the forecast, I urge everyone
to take precautions and protect themselves and their families from overheating and heat-related illnesses. This is especially important for very young children, people who are pregnant and those who are older or have
chronic health conditions.”
These basic steps offer protection from heatstroke and heat exhaustion:
– Stay in an air-conditioned area during the hottest hours of the day. Those without air conditioning can go to a public place such as a shopping mall or a library to stay cool. Or check for cooling centers at the Keep Cool Illinois
– Wear light, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing, as it reflects heat and sunlight. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water often and don't wait until
you are thirsty. Avoid caffeinated, alcoholic and sugary beverages that contribute to dehydration.
– Avoid unnecessary hard work or activities outside or in a building without air-conditioning, especially during times of peak heat from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
– Avoid unnecessary sun exposure. When in the sun, wear a hat, preferably with a wide brim.
– Slow down. Strenuous activities should be reduced, eliminated or rescheduled to the coolest time of the day. Those at risk should stay in the coolest available place, not necessarily indoors.
Symptoms of heatstroke:
– Body temperature over 103 degrees Fahrenheit.
– Difficulty breathing
– An elevated heart rate
–Skin hot to the touch
– Feeling dizziness, nausea or disorientation
If someone is experiencing these symptoms, call 911 immediately. While waiting for medical assistance, use ice packs on the neck and underarms and drink cool water to lower body temperature.
This is the time of year when ultraviolet (UV) rays are strongest and can cause severe sunburn. It is important to protect the skin, especially for those prone
to developing skin cancer.
To avoid sunburn, wear sunscreen of SPF30 or higher. Also wear protective clothing, including long sleeved shirts, long pants and a wide-brimmed hat,
especially when the UV index is over 6.
Additional information about heat-related illnesses and how to avoid them can be found on at the following IDPH Hot Weather: Understanding and Preventing Heat-Related Illnesses, and also on the following National Weather
Service heat safety website.
Ready Illinois, the program run by the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, provides information at the website Extreme Heat.