July 5, 2012
Cook County Emergency Department Physicians Urge Area Residents to Take Precautions During Extreme Heat
CHICAGO –The Cook County Health and Hospitals System Emergency Department Physicians are urging area residents to take extreme caution during this extreme heat wave. Only twice before has the Chicago area logged three straight days of temperatures in the 100s: July 3-5, 1911 and Aug. 4-6, 1947.
The National Weather Service says the heat index — what it feels like — will climb to a dangerous 118 today and Friday. It has issued an extreme heat warning for the entire area until 10 p.m. Friday.
Cook County Emergency Department Medical Staff is advising of the following tips:
- Stay out of the sun. If you must be in the sun, wear sunscreen (at least SPF 15) and a side-brimmed hat.
- 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.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.