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Posted on: July 1, 2021

Don't Overheat This Summer!

Extreme Heat

During the summer months, temperatures in Illinois can reach dangerous levels. Extreme heat can be particularly hazardous for children, seniors, those with special needs, and pets. The Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and the City of Carbondale Office of Emergency Management are offering tips to help people stay safe while enjoying the summer. 

Last year, 24 children died from heatstroke after being left in hot cars and already one toddler has died in 2021. Heat can be more severe on children because their bodies warm at a faster rate than adults. Parents should develop a routine that will ensure the backseat is always checked before the car is locked, such as putting a purse, cell phone or other needed item in the back seat or consider opening the car’s back door every time the car is parked. 

Summer’s extreme heat can also lead to heat-induced illnesses, including heat exhaustion or heat stroke.  Remember to check in on family, friends, neighbors, the elderly and pets to ensure they are safe.  When extreme heat strikes, limit your time outdoors, seek air conditioning and drink plenty of water.   

To protect yourself and others, familiarize yourself with the following heat safety tips:

  • Know the terms used by the National Weather Service during extreme heat: Heat Wave, Excessive Heat Watch, Heat Advisory, Excessive Heat Warning, and Heat Index:
  1. Heat Wave – Heat wave is a period of abnormally and uncomfortably hot and unusually humid weather, typically lasting two or more days.
  2. Excessive Heat Watch – Excessive heat is possible in the next day or two. 
  3. Heat Advisory – High and potentially dangerous values of heat index are occurring, imminent, or highly likely. Prolonged exposure to heat and/or strenuous activity may result in heat-related illness. In Illinois, heat advisories are issued for a daytime maximum eat index of 105 and nighttime minimum of 80. 
  4. Excessive Heat Warning – Life threatening heat is occurring, imminent or highly likely. Take precautions! In Illinois, a heat warning is issued for a daytime maximum heat index of 115 with a minimum of 80. 
  5. Heat Index - The heat index, also known as the apparent temperature, is what the temperature feels like to the human body when relative humidity is combined with the air temperature.
  • Do not leave children or pets in a closed vehicle, even for a few minutes. On a hot day, temperatures inside a closed vehicle can reach 140ºF-190ºF within 30 minutes.
  • Make a special effort to check on your neighbors during a heat wave, especially if they are seniors, families with young children, people with special needs, or living alone.
  • Seniors and others who may be sensitive to extreme heat should contact friends, neighbors, or relatives periodically throughout the day.
  • Seek help if you feel symptoms of heat-related illnesses:
  1. Heat Cramps: Symptoms - Painful spasms usually in muscles of legs and abdomen due to heavy exertion. Heavy sweating. Treatment - Stop activity and rest in a cool place. Lightly stretch or gently massage muscle to relieve spasms. Give sips of cool water.
  2. Heat Exhaustion: Symptoms - Heavy sweating. Skin cool, pale and clammy. Pulse fast and weak. Breathing fast and shallow. Normal temperature. Fainting, vomiting, dizziness, nausea. Treatment - Get victim to a cool place. Lie down and loosen clothing. Apply cool wet cloths. Give sips of cool water.  
  3. Heat Stroke: Symptoms - High body temperature of 103 to as high as 106. Hot, red, dry skin. No sweating. Rapid pulse. Breathing fast and shallow. Headache, nausea, dizziness, confusion. Possible unconsciousness. Treatment - Heat stroke is a severe medical emergency. Summon emergency medical assistance or get the victim to a hospital immediately. Delay can be fatal. Move the victim to a cooler environment. Reduce the body temperature with a cool bath or sponging. Use air conditioning or fans. Do not give fluids.
  • Stay out of the sun. If you must be in the sun, wear sunscreen (at least SPF 15) and a wide-brimmed hat.
  • Stay in the shade or under awnings as much as possible.
  • Avoid overexertion and strenuous outdoor activities.
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothes that cover as much skin as possible to prevent sunburn.

To learn more about how to stay safe during the summer heat and how to treat heat-related illnesses like heat exhaustion, visit ready.illinois.gov or contact the City of Carbondale Office of Emergency Management Agency at 618.457.3245.

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