August 7, 2009
State Public Health Director Offers Tips to Protect Against Heat-related Health Problems As Hot Weather Approaches this Weekend
Illinois Department of Public Health encourages preventive action, especially for those attending the Bud Billiken Parade and Lollapalooza in Chicago
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – With high temperatures expected this weekend and throughout next week, Dr. Damon T. Arnold, Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, is urging Illinoisans to take preventive actions during this extremely hot weather to avoid heat-related illness, such as heat-stroke. Additionally, Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) is urging Illinoisans to take advantage of the seven Illinois Tollway Oases in Chicago that serve as cooling centers on the weekends. More information on the state’s cooling centers is available by calling the IDHS toll-free hotline 1-800-843-6154 (1-800-447-6404 TTY) or by visiting www.dhs.state.il.us.
“With high temperatures expected over the weekend, it’s very important for people to recognize the signs of heat-related illness and take action to prevent becoming sick from the heat. High heat and humidity can lead to serious health problems,” Dr. Arnold said. “To help your body cope with high temperatures, take steps to stay cool, increase your fluid intake, decrease your activities and wear appropriate clothing.”
Normally, the body cools itself by sweating. However, if temperatures and humidity are extremely high, like they are predicted to be this weekend, 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, such as heatstroke. Heat-related illnesses can become serious or even deadly if unattended.
Heatstroke is caused by prolonged exposure to the heat. The symptoms of heatstroke include:
Dr. Arnold encourages Illinoisans to follow these prevention tips to beat the heat and related illness:
If you must go outside:
Anyone can suffer from heat-related illness, but some people are at greater risk. Check regularly on:
Visit seniors 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 risks, visit the Web site at http://www.idph.state.il.us/public/books/summtoc.htm to find the “Summer? No Sweat” Survival Guide.
of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
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