Patrick McNulty, Public Health Administrator for the McHenry County Department of Health, advises the community to be cautious during this prolonged period of excessive heat.
The following hot weather tips are recommended to prevent heat-related illness:
• Drink 1 ? quarts of fluid per day to prevent dehydration. Water, fruit juices and juice drinks are best. Do not wait until you are thirsty to drink. Parents should be sure young children get sufficient fluids. If you are on a special fluidrestricted diet or if you take diuretics, ask your physician about fluid intake during hot weather.
• Avoid alcohol and caffeine because they dehydrate the body.
• Stay indoors and, if at all possible, stay in an air-conditioned place. If your home does not have air conditioning, go to a public place that does have air conditioning. Fans alone will not effectively cool an overheated person when air temperatures are above 90 degrees F.
• Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing. When spending time outdoors, avoid direct sunlight, wear a hat and use a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) greater than 15 to protect yourself against sunburn.
• Never leave children, the elderly or pets in a closed, parked car. Brain damage or death can occur from the rapid rise of hot temperatures inside a vehicle. If you must go outside:
• Slow down and avoid strenuous activity. If you must do strenuous activity, do it during the early morning or late evening hours when it is cooler.
• Take regular breaks when engaged in physical activity on warm days. Try to rest often in shady or cool areas.
Although anyone can suffer from heat-related illness, some people are at greater risk than others. Check regularly on infants and young children, pets, people aged 65 or older, people who have mental illness and those who are physically ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure.