BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (WMBD) — Summer is officially here; well it feels like it with temperatures reaching the mid-90s on Friday with the heat index pushing it higher.
The heat is on and it’s bringing with it a reminder to take preventative steps to avoid heat-related illnesses. Kathy Beck the acting director of the McLean County Emergency Management Center said it’s fairly easy.
Some of the best ways to prevent that are to stay inside if you can, make sure you’re hydrated, if you have to be outside take breaks from the sun. Wear light-colored clothing. Those are the best ways to stay safer for people,” Beck said.
Beck said while the average adult can handle most level of heat, the elderly are especially at risk of heat-related illnesses.
“Their bodies just don’t react as quickly and don’t tolerate the heat as well,” Beck said.
Parents and pet owners should also check their cars before locking and leaving. In just minutes temperatures inside the car can climb to a deadly level.
Ginger Streitmatter with O.S.F. Children’s Hospital of Illinois said these temperatures can be especially deadly to children.
“At 104 degrees, a child’s major organs will start shutting down because they can’t regulate the heat,” Streitmatter said.
When it comes to children, on the hottest days, playground equipment like a plastic slide can reach temperatures over 140 degrees causing injuries to all parts of the body. Dr. Andrea Kane a pediatrician at Carle-Bromenn Medical Center said she’s seen it before.
“We’ve definitely seen even second-degree burns from kids, so some blistering burns. So you definitely want to do a heat touch before allowing your kids to slide down the slide,” Kane said.
Kane said hydrating is the best way to prevent heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
“Your body’s mechanism to manage heat is to sweat and by sweating, you’re going to lose some of that water so you’ll need to replace it,” Kane said.
Symptoms of heat exhaustion include sweating and nausea, whereas heatstroke can cause loss of consciousness and 911 should be dialed immediately.
In McLean County, the emergency management center will soon share a list of cooling centers for people to use for free and escape the heat. Beck said places usually include city halls, local businesses, and even fire departments.