KANE COUNTY—On the heels of the powerful storms over the weekend that knocked out power to numerous homes, and with the outlook of hot weather for the rest of the week, the Kane County Health Department is urging residents to be especially cautious in dealing with the oppressive heat.
If your home still is without power, a list of cooling centers can be found at kanehealth.com/heat.htm. The county is urging residents to check on the well-being of their neighbors, especially those who are elderly, have special needs or are otherwise unable to access this information. Also take special care to see that your pets have plenty of water and shade.
The health effects of extreme heat are cumulative, which is why it is important to follow the tips below to ensure you avoid dehydration, heat exhaustion or heat stroke:
• Always wear light-weight clothing that has plenty of ventilation—the fabric should “breathe.” Stay well hydrated; always ensure you consume an abundance of liquids in the summer.
• Exercise or schedule other strenuous activities when the heat and humidity are lowest, usually early morning and late evenings.
• Rest in cool, shady places frequently. If you’re hot, go cool down—get indoors, drink cool liquids, enjoy the air conditioning for a few minutes, or take a cold shower.
• Eat light, heart-healthy foods to replace minerals and nutrients that may be lost. Give your heart a little extra break during the summer months with a healthy diet.
• Watch out for those at greatest risk, such as very young children, the elderly, persons who may have health conditions. Certain medications may put you at greater risk of heat-related illnesses, so be aware of how medications may interact with the heat.
Be on the lookout for these potential risk factors when spending any time outside during periods of extreme heat and humidity:
• Dehydration— ehydration occurs when more water leaves the body that you put back in. Stay well hydrated throughout the day, and drink extra fluids when exercising or simply being outdoors on hot days.
• Heat exhaustion— ymptoms may include headaches, weak pulse, rapid pulse, excessive sweating, dizziness, and in some instances, fainting, clammy skin, chills, cold, nausea, vomiting, muscle cramps or very fast or very shallow breathing. If you suspect you have heat exhaustion, take action immediately to cool down. If possible, immerse yourself in cool water.
• Heat stroke—Unlike heat exhaustion, victims of heat stroke have warm skin that is dry to the touch because they’ve sweated out all their extra water, leaving the body’s natural cooling system without a key cool-down mechanism. High fever, severe headaches, nausea, vomiting, and a strong, rapid pulse all accompany heat stroke. Victims may become confused and can lose consciousness. Heat stroke is a very serious condition. Cool the victim and seek immediate medical assistance.
More information about the effects of heat on your health is available by visiting the heat page on the Health Department website.