With temperatures estimated to reach nearly 90 degrees every day this week, the McHenry County Department of Health urges residents to heed heat safety tips.
People are encouraged to wear lightweight clothing with ventilation, drink plenty of liquids and provide pets with adequate water and shade.
“According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, extreme heat events or heat waves are the most common cause of weather-related deaths in the U.S. They cause more deaths each year than hurricanes, lightning, tornadoes, floods and earthquakes combined,” said Debra Quackenbush, spokeswoman for the health department.
Exercise or other strenuous activities should be scheduled for early mornings or late evenings, when heat and humidity are at bay. If you feel hot, go somewhere to cool down. Get indoors with air conditioning, drink cold liquids or take a cold shower.
Young children, individuals with health conditions and pets are at the greatest risk. Children and pets should not be left in cars.
Dehydration, heat exhaustion and heatstroke all can be caused by periods of extreme heat and humidity.
Dehydration occurs when more water leaves the body than is consumed. To avoid it, stay hydrated and drink extra fluids.
Heat exhaustion includes symptoms such as headaches, weak or rapid pulse, excessive sweating, dizziness, fainting, clammy skin, chills, cold, nausea, vomiting, muscle cramps and fast or shallow breathing.
If you feel you are suffering from heat exhaustion, cool down immediately, ideally by immersing yourself in cool water.
Heatstroke victims have warm skin that is dry to the touch. This is because all excess water has been sweat out. High fever, severe headaches, nausea, vomiting, confusion, loss of consciousness and a strong, rapid pulse are symptoms.
Pets also need special consideration. An overheated pet may display excessive panting, difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, stupor, bloody diarrhea and seizures.
Animals should not walk on hot asphalt because paws are sensitive and can burn.
For information, visit www.mcdh.info.