[Courtesy National Weather Service Chicago]
Before the Heat Wave
· Check NOAA Weather Radio or weather.gov/chicago when planning outdoor activities.
· Have a place to cool off if you do not have air conditioning. Find out if your community has cooling shelters.
· If there are no cooling shelters available, plan to spend some time at a public library, shopping mall, or the home of a neighbor or family member where there is air conditioning.
· Check on the elderly, the infirm, and those living alone.
During the Heat Wave
· Drink plenty of water and juice, even if you’re not thirsty.
· Avoid alcoholic beverages and drinks with caffeine, such as coffee, tea, and colas.
· Slow down. Avoid strenuous activity.
· Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
· Avoid going out during the hottest times of the day.
· If you must go out, use sunscreen and wear a hat. Remember that sunburn reduces the skin’s ability to provide cooling.
· Keep shades drawn and blinds closed, with windows open slightly if you don’t have air conditioning.
· Keep lights down low or turned off. Avoid using electrical appliances and the oven during the hottest times of the day.
· Take cool baths or showers. Use cool wet towels.
· Eat frequent, small meals. Avoid high protein foods.
· Do not leave children or pets in a closed vehicle – even for a few minutes. Temperatures inside a closed vehicle can reach 140 to 190 degrees within 30 minutes on a hot sunny day.
· The best way to beat the heat is to spend time in air conditioning. Even just two hours per day in air conditioning can significantly reduce the risk of heat-related illness.