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Stay Safe During Upcoming Heat Wave

Wed July 20, 2016

The DuPage County Health Department wants to remind residents of some important safety tips they can follow to ensure their time spent outdoors this summer is both fun and safe. 

Temperatures are expected to reach the mid to high nineties starting Thursday. When spending any time outside during periods of extreme heat and humidity, residents should also be on the lookout for these potential risk factors:

Dehydration - Dehydration occurs when more water leaves the body than you put back in. Stay well hydrated throughout the day and drink extra fluids when exercising or simply being outdoors on hot days.

Heat exhaustion - Symptoms may include: headaches, weak pulse, rapid pulse, excessive sweating, dizziness, and in some instances fainting, clammy skin, chills, cold, nausea, vomiting, muscle cramps or very fast or very shallow breathing. If you suspect you have heat exhaustion, take action immediately to cool down. If possible, immerse yourself in cool water, and seek medical attention.

Heat stroke - Unlike heat exhaustion, victims of heat stroke have warm skin that is dry to the touch because they've sweated out all their extra water leaving the body's natural cooling system without a key cool-down mechanism. High fever, severe headaches, nausea, vomiting, and a strong, rapid pulse all accompany heat stroke. Victims may become confused and can lose consciousness. Heat stroke is a very serious condition. Take action to cool the victim and seek immediate medical assistance.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and prevention (CDC), an average of 618 deaths per year are associated with exposure to excessive natural heat. Here are some tips from the Health Department to stay cool and avoid those heat related illnesses:

  • Always wear light-weight clothing that has plenty of ventilation - the fabric should "breathe." Stay well hydrated; always ensure you consume an abundance of water in the summer.
  • Stay well hydrated; always ensure you consume an abundance of water in the summer.
  • Exercise or schedule other strenuous activities when the heat and humidity are lowest, usually early morning and late evenings.
  • Rest in cool, shady places frequently. If you're hot, go cool down - get indoors, drink cool non-alcoholic drinks, enjoy the air conditioning for a few minutes, or take a cold shower.
  • Eat light, heart-healthy foods to replace minerals and nutrients that may be lost. Give your heart a little extra break during the summer months with a healthy diet.
  • Watch out for those at greatest risk such as very young children, the elderly, persons who may have health conditions. Certain medications may put you at greater risk of heat-related illnesses so be aware of how medications may interact with the heat. Seek medical attention if the symptoms persist or worsen. 

Find additional information at  For more information on the DuPage County Health Department, follow us on Twitter @DuPageHD or become a fan on Facebook.