CHICAGO – June 28, 2012. With temperatures around Illinois expected to rise above 100 degrees, Governor Pat Quinn today urged Illinois residents to take precautions to stay safe and cool. The Governor also encouraged residents to visit cooling centers and to check on family members and neighbors who are vulnerable to hot weather, including the elderly and children.
“These extreme temperatures can be fatal, so it is crucial that people take steps to stay safe and cool,” Governor Quinn said. “Please avoid spending too much time outside, and visit one of the state’s cooling centers if needed. If you have children, or elderly neighbors or relatives, please check on them regularly to make sure they are safe.”
More than 120 cooling centers are open 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.
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 Ready.Illinois.gov.