Cool Illinois campaign offers tips to protect against heat-related
health problems during this week's hot weather
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[August 07, 2007]
SPRINGFIELD -- As part of Gov.
Rod R. Blagojevich's Keep Cool Illinois campaign, Dr. Eric E.
Whitaker, state public health director, is urging Illinoisans this
week to take preventive actions during the extremely hot weather.
The governor has also made 130 state facilities available as cooling
centers. The mission of the Keep Cool Illinois campaign is to inform
Illinois residents, especially the elderly, families with small
children and people with disabilities, about how to prevent
heat-related health problems and participate in summer activities
"Periods of high temperatures and humidity can lead to serious
health problems," Whitaker said. "Prevention is the best defense
against heat-related illness. Staying cool, increasing your fluid
intake, decreasing your activities and wearing appropriate clothing
can help your body cope with high temperatures."
Normally, the body cools itself by sweating. However, if
temperatures and humidity are extremely high, like they are
predicted to be this week, sweating is not effective in maintaining
the body's normal temperature. If the body does not cool properly or
does not cool enough, a person may suffer a heat-related illness.
Heat-related illnesses can become serious or even deadly if
Whitaker offered the following prevention tips to beat the heat
and related illness:
Drink more fluids
regardless of your activity level. Do not wait until you're
thirsty to drink. Make an extra effort to drink a minimum of six
to eight 8-ounce glasses of cool fluids daily. During heavy
exercise in a hot environment, drink two to four glasses of cool
fluids each hour. Parents should be sure young children get
sufficient fluids. If you are on a special fluid-restricted diet
or if you take diuretics, ask your physician about fluid intake
during hot weather.
Avoid liquids that
contain caffeine, alcohol or large amounts of sugar -- they
cause you to lose more body fluid. Also, avoid very cold drinks
because they can cause stomach cramps.
Take cool showers,
baths or sponge baths, which can reduce body temperatures. In
addition, wet clothing has a cooling effect.
Protect your body.
Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing. When
spending time outdoors, avoid direct sunlight, wear a hat and
use a sunscreen with a sun protection factor greater than 15 to
protect yourself against sunburn.
anyone, including pets, alone in a closed, parked vehicle. The
air temperature inside a car rises rapidly during hot weather
and can lead to brain damage or death.
Stay indoors and,
if at all possible, stay in an air-conditioned place. If your
home does not have air conditioning, go to a public place that
does have air conditioning.
Seek out the
nearest facility that is air-conditioned, such as a cooling
shelter, a senior citizen center, a church, a mall, the local
YMCA or a center designated by your community. Even a few hours
spent in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler when
you go back into the heat. Fans alone will not effectively cool
an overheated person when air temperatures are above 90 degrees.
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As part of his Keep Cool Illinois campaign, Blagojevich has made
130 state facilities available as cooling centers. The cooling
centers will provide Illinoisans a place to stay cool and
comfortable during this week's hot weather. The cooling centers are
located at Illinois Department of Human Services offices throughout
the state and will be open to the public during regular business
hours so anyone seeking refuge from the heat has a cool place to go.
More information on the state's cooling centers is available by
calling the 800-843-6154, or you can search by ZIP code at
www.keepcool.illinois.gov for the cooling center nearest you.
"Already this summer numerous people have taken advantage of the
cooling centers in IDHS office buildings," said Illinois Department
of Human Services Secretary Carol L. Adams, Ph.D. "Many low-income
Illinoisans have no air conditioning in their homes or no other cool
place to go to escape the heat. The cooling centers offer a clean,
safe place to take refuge during the hottest part of the day."
If you must go outside:
Slow down and
avoid strenuous activity. If you must do strenuous activity, do
it during the early morning or late evening hours when it is
breaks when engaged in physical activity on warm days. Try to
rest often in shady or cool areas. If you recognize that you are
showing signs of a heat-related illness, or that someone else
is, the affected person should stop activity and find a cool
Anyone can suffer from heat-related illness, but some people are
at greater risk. Check regularly on:
Infants and young
People aged 65 or
People who have
Those who are
physically ill, especially with heart disease or high blood
Visit adults at risk at least twice a day and closely watch them
for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Infants and young
children need much more frequent watching.
For more information on summer activity safety and summer health
public/books/summtoc.htm for the
"Summer? No Sweat" survival guide.
The Keep Cool Illinois site,
www.keepcool.illinois.gov, offers various no-cost and low-cost
energy-saving tips, links to cooling centers and energy assistance
programs, fireworks safety tips, West Nile virus prevention guides,
and other available state resources. The Keep Cool Illinois
toll-free line, 877-411-9276, as well a Spanish version of the
online site, provide additional resources for Illinois residents to
learn how to cut utility bills, receive energy assistance and stay
cool and healthy this summer.
Department of Public Health news release received from the
Illinois Office of Communication and Information]