With some of the summer’s hottest, muggiest conditions so far predicted to come Tuesday, local agencies are advising certain precautions to help people — especially those most vulnerable — avoid falling prey to heat-related ailments.
The heat index Tuesday could exceed 100 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.
“Excessive heat and high humidity can mean health risks for everyone, but the Will County Health Department urges area residents to remember that infants, the elderly and the chronically ill are especially susceptible when dangerously hot weather persists,” the agency said in a press release this week. “Try to visit family members, friends and neighbors who face special heat-related health risks at least twice a day.”
Among the most severe hazards of cumulative exposure to high temperatures are heat exhaustion, characterized by heavy sweating and a rapid pulse, and heat stroke, in which the core temperature of the body can climb to 105 degrees or more. Victims of heat stroke often faint and may exhibit other symptoms, including a throbbing headache; dizziness or light-headedness; a lack of perspiration, despite the heat; red, hot and dry skin; nausea and vomiting; slurred speech; hallucinations; an accelerated heartbeat; rapid and shallow breathing; behavioral changes such as confusion, disorientation or staggering; and seizures.
DuPage County Health Department officials stress the importance of acting quickly if someone begins to display symptoms of heat-related illness.
“If you think someone is experiencing heat symptoms, be sure to call 911,” the agency urges in a news release. “Quickly cool the person in a cool bath or wrap wet sheets around them; if the victim refuses water, is vomiting or shows a decreased level of consciousness, do not give them anything to eat or drink.”
Naperville’s municipal electric utility is asking its customers to go easy on their power usage Tuesday, particularly in the late afternoon.
Because the rates paid by the city for its electricity purchases are based on measured usage patterns, costs can be contained, the utility asserts, by minimizing consumption spikes.
When customers voluntarily reduce electric usage, the City minimizes its monthiy costs associated with purchasing electricity to meet the needs of its customers. Part of the city’s cost when purchasing electricity is based on the peak electric usage figure.
While emphasizing that there is no concern about electric shortages, the statement from the city suggested these ways to cut electricity use if desired.
Health permitting, set your air conditioner at 78 degrees or higher. Keep shades, blinds and curtains closed to help keep your home cool and make sure doors to the outside, garage or attic are firmly closed to keep cooler air in and hot air out.
Use major appliances such as washing machines, dryers or dishwashers before or after the hours of 3 to 7 p.m.
Turn off and refrain from using all unneeessaiy lighting and electrical equipment. Some examples could include computers, swimming pool filters, hair dryers and vacuum cleaners, depending on your circumstances.
Consider cooking outside on a grill to avoid turning on the oven or stove.
The public health organizations provide these recommendations for preventing ill effects from heat.
Take frequent showers or baths.
Drink plenty of water and natural juices, consuming more than your body seems to crave. Avoid alcoholic beverages, coffee, colas and very sugary drinks. Caffeine and alcohol are taxing to the circulatory system when heat and humidity are very high.
Limit exercise. If it must be done during the hottest hours (typically 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.), drink two to four glasses of cool, nonalcoholic fluids each hour. A sports beverage can replace the salt and minerals lost through sweat.
If you must be outdoors during the hottest part of the day, wear a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses and sunscreen. Choose a sunscreen product with an SPF rating of 15 or higher.
Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing, ideally made of cotton, and avoid heavy meals. Several small, light meals are preferable to binge eating or drinking. Avoid the use of conventional ovens and other appliances that generate excessive heat.
Do not allow anyone — humans or pets — to sit in a hot car, even for a few minutes. Temperatures inside a stationary vehicle without air conditioning can reach extremely dangerous levels in minutes.
If you are indoors without air conditioning, keep shades drawn and blinds closed. Windows may be open slightly to take advantage of any breeze. Or head for a cooler spot — schools, libraries, theaters and malls are all good options.weather