CHICAGO – July 5, 2012. With temperatures throughout Illinois at historic highs and surpassing 100 degrees for several days this week, Governor Pat Quinn again 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.
“Illinois is experiencing record-high temperatures and it is critical that people take the necessary steps to stay safe and cool during this extreme heat,” Governor Quinn said. "We are all in this together and people should regularly check on their children and elderly neighbors and relatives to make sure they are safe, hydrated and keeping cool.”
Governor Quinn and the Illinois Department of Public Health are encouraging Illinois residents to be conscious of and responsive to signs of heat-related illnesses. Symptoms of may include headaches, skin that is hot to the touch, increased body temperature, loss of consciousness, seizures and irregular heartbeats.
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.
To stay cool, avoid illness and prevent heat-related injury or death, people should increase their fluid intake but avoid drinks with caffeine, alcohol and sugar; decrease strenuous activity; and remain in air-conditioning when possible. In addition, people should avoid prolonged outdoor activity and visit the state’s cooling centers if needed.
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., and Illinois Tollway Oases are available 24 hours/day.
For more information about cooling centers, call the Illinois Department of Human Services hotline at (800) 843-6154, or visit KeepCool.Illinois.gov for locations. For information about heat preparedness and cooling centers, visit the Ready Illinois website at Ready.Illinois.gov.