State agencies urge safety during record high temperatures
CHICAGO - With hot weather expected for the remainder of the week, Governor Pat Quinn is urging residents to take advantage of the state's cooling centers. The state has opened more than 100 cooling centers around Illinois, in order to help those without air conditioning find respite from the heat.
"High temperatures can be extremely dangerous, especially for senior citizens and young children," Governor Quinn said. "I urge all residents to take the safety steps necessary to stay cool, and be alert for signs of heat-related illness."
The cooling centers are located at Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) offices throughout the state. IDHS cooling centers are open to the public during regular business hours, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
In addition to the IDHS cooling centers, the Illinois Tollway Oases in the Chicago area are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Governor Quinn and the Illinois Department of Public Health 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.
To find a cooling center near you, call the IDHS hotline at (800) 843-6154 or visit www.dhs.state.il.us.