With the extreme heat and humidity expected today and tomorrow, the City of Elgin has opened its cooling center doors at the Elgin Police Station, 151 Douglas Ave. The cooling center will be open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. until high temperatures subside. Upon arrival, residents will be registered and individually evaluated as to their various needs.
The City offers these tips to prevent heat-related illness:
• Drink more (nonalcoholic) fluids regardless of your activity level. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink.
• Don’t drink liquids that contain caffeine, alcohol, or large amounts of sugar. These drinks actually cause people to loose more body fluid. Also avoid very cold drinks since they can cause stomach cramps.
• Stay indoors and in an air-conditioned place. If your home does not have air conditioning, go to the City’s cooling center or some other public place that has air-conditioning. Even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you do go back into the heat.
• Electric fans may provide comfort, but don’t prevent heat-related illness. Taking a cool shower or bath, or moving to an air-conditioned place is a much better way to cool off.
• Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
• NEVER leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle.
• Although any one at any time can suffer from heat-related illness, some people are at greater risk than others. Check regularly on:
• People aged 65 or older
• Infants and young children
• People who have a mental illness
• Those who are physically ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure
• 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, of course, need much more frequent watching.
If you must be out in the heat:
• Limit your outdoor activity to morning and evening hours.
• Cut down on exercise. If you must exercise, drink two to four glasses of cool, nonalcoholic fluids each hour. A sports beverage can replace the salt and minerals you lose in sweat. Warning: If you are on a low-salt diet, talk with your doctor before drinking a sports beverage. Remember the warning in the first “tip” (above), too.
• Try to rest often in shady areas.
• Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat (also keeps you cooler) and sunglasses and by putting on sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher (the most effective products say “broad spectrum” or “UVA/UVB protection” on their labels).
For more information, contact Sgt. Brad Entler of Elgin’s Office of Emergency Management at (847) 289-2776.