Are you ready to say 'when' with this hot and steamy weather already?
The extreme heat over the last few days has not only been unbearable as we zip in and out of air-conditioning, but could cause health-related illnesses if precautions aren’t taken.
An excessive heat warning remains in effect until 10 p.m. tonight, The Weather Channel reports, and the forecast for today in Chicago’s north suburbs calls for a high of 98 degrees.
Thursday temperatures topped out at 100, while on July 4th the high temperature was recorded at 103 degrees, according to the Chicago Weather Center.
Going to the beach or the pool can help you cool down, but if you get a severe sunburn, it can actually increase your chances for a heat-related illness. According to Weather.com, serious sunburns cause oils to build up on the skin which block pores, and prevent the body from cooling itself off.
If you get a serious sunburn, take a shower with soap to remove those oils, use dry dressings if you have blisters, and seek medical attention immediately.
If you are forced to stay in the heat for extended periods of time, you are at risk for heat stroke. The symptoms include skin that is abnormally hot to the touch, a dry, red face and severe headaches, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH). More serious symptoms include loss of consciousness, and irregular heartbeat and seizures.
IDPH recommends calling 911 immediately if you identify these symptoms in an individual, and then wrap the person in wet sheets, or bring their body temperature down gradually in a cool, not cold, bath.
Vulnerable populations, as with all heat-related illnesses, include infants and young children, the elderly, and those suffering from physical or mental impairments. Tell-tale signs someone is suffering from heat exhaustion are muscle tremors and cramping, nausea, dizziness and cool, clammy skin, according to IDPH.
Individuals who are experiencing heat exhaustion should be given cool, not cold, water to drink, and cooled down with a wet cloth. Tight clothing should also be removed.
General Tips Everyone Can Use Amid the Extreme Heat:
- Drink six to eight ounces of cool, clear fluids through the day; avoid alcohol and caffeinated beverages
- Reduce higher than normal body temperatures by taking cool showers or sponge baths
- Wear light colored and loose fitting clothing
- Use sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher
- Do not leave people or animals in a closed, parked vehicles
If you need to be outside for any reason, activity should be severely limited and saved for the early morning hours or late evening hours when temperatures are cooler, IDPH suggests. Take frequent breaks in the shade to help bring your body temperature back down before venturing back out into the sun.
For more information, visit the Illinois Department of Public Health website.