CHICAGO – June 18, 2012. With hot weather forecasted across Illinois this week, Governor Pat Quinn today announced services available throughout the state to protect people from the heat. The Governor also encouraged residents to check on family members and neighbors who are vulnerable to hot weather, including the elderly and children.
“Rising temperatures like those we’re expecting in the days ahead can be extremely dangerous, especially for elderly residents and children,” Governor Quinn said. “I urge people to take steps to stay safe and cool. If you have children, or elderly neighbors or relatives, please check on them regularly to make sure they are safe.”
The state has opened more than 120 cooling centers around Illinois, in order to help those without air conditioning find respite from the heat. The cooling centers are located at Illinois Department of Human Services offices throughout the state, as well as at Illinois Tollway Oases in the Chicago area. Cooling centers are open to the public during regular business hours, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call the Illinois Department of Human Services hotline at (800) 843-6154, or visit, http://www2.illinois.gov/KeepCool/Pages/coolingcenters.aspx for locations.
“High temperatures and humidity can lead to serious health problems, particularly for the elderly and young children,” Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health said. “If the body does not cool properly or does not cool enough, a person may suffer a range of heat-related illnesses from, heat rash to heatstroke, which can be fatal.”
Governor Quinn and the IDPH are encouraging Illinoisans to watch for signs of heat-related illnesses. Symptoms of heat-related illness include headaches, skin that is hot to the touch, increased body temperature, loss of consciousness, seizures and irregular heartbeats.
To stay cool and avoid illness, people should increase their fluid intake but avoid drinks with caffeine, alcohol and sugar; decrease strenuous, outdoor physical activity; and remain in air-conditioning when possible.
The Illinois Department on Aging also encourages relatives and friends to make daily visits or calls to senior citizens living alone. When temperatures and humidity are extremely high, seniors and people with chronic health conditions should be monitored for dehydration and other effects of extreme heat. Additionally, seniors should eat lighter meals, take longer and more frequent rests, and drink plenty of fluids.
For information about heat preparedness, visit the Ready Illinois website at www.Ready.Illinois.gov.