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Heat at high levels – coroner, Red Cross asking residents to stay safe

Published: Tuesday, July 16, 2013 4:52 p.m. CST • Updated: Wednesday, July 17, 2013 8:51 a.m. CST
Caption
(Sandy Bressner – sbressner @shawmedia.com)
St. Charles North baseball player Tyler Madsen (center) pours water over his head to stay cool during the North Stars' home game against West Chicago on Tuesday.

With temperatures hovering around 90 degrees this week, Kane County residents are being asked to be attentive to heat-related emergencies.

The combination of high temperature and humidity recently have put the heat index at 100 degrees or more, according to the National Weather Service. A heat index measures how hot it feels when relative humidity is added to the actual air temperature.

Kane County Coroner Rob Russell and the American Red Cross are asking that people be diligent about staying hydrated – by drinking water and other fluids – and staying out of the heat for extended periods of time.

Infants, the elderly and those who work outside are the most susceptible to heat-related illnesses, especially heatstroke. Those with chronic illnesses also are considered high-risk, according to a news release. Russell and the Red Cross also are urging people to follow tips on staying safe in high temperatures, especially never leaving children or pets inside a car.

Other heat safety tips include wearing loose-fitting, light-colored clothing; staying indoors; avoiding strenuous exercise; and postponing outdoor activities.

Also, people are urged to use a buddy system when working in excessive heat. People should take frequent breaks and check on those who do not have air conditioning.

Those without air conditioning should get relief by going to libraries, theaters, malls and other cool, public places, officials recommend.

Excessive heat can lead to heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Symptoms of heat exhaustion are cool, moist, pale or flushed skin, heavy sweating, headache, nausea, dizziness and weakness. Someone with those symptoms should be moved to a cooler place, have their clothing loosened, and be sprayed with water or have cool, wet cloths or towels applied. If the person refuses water, vomits or begins to lose consciousness, 911 should be called.

Heatstroke symptoms, which occur after heat exhaustion, include hot, red skin, headache, dizziness and confusion, vomiting, high body temperature exceeding 103 degrees, fast pulse, seizures and unconsciousness.

A call to 911 should be immediately placed if someone shows signs of heatstroke. While waiting, the ill person should be moved to a cooler place, doused or sprayed with cold water, or covered with cold, wet towels or bags of ice.

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