IEMA warns about the dangers of heat and humidity

IEMA warns about the dangers of heat and humidity

(KFVS) - The Illinois Emergency Management Agency is warning about the dangers of extreme heat and humidity and what to look out for.

According to IEMA, on average extreme heat kills more people than tornadoes, floods and lightning. There have been 101 yearly death on average related to extreme heat.

“Heat-related fatalities can be prevented by taking precautions when temperatures rise,” said IEMA Acting Director Alicia Tate-Nadeau. “One of the most important heat safety tips is to never leave children, elderly people, adults with disabilities, or pets in parked cars even for a short time. Temperatures in vehicles rise much faster than many people realize.”

Vehicles continue to be hazardous to children during this time of year. Even with the windows slightly down, the temperature in the vehicle will rise 30 to 40 degrees in less than 30 minutes.

Heat affects everyone differently, especially for those doing physical labor in the heat and humidity. Heat stroke is the most serious heat-related health problem and can be fatal if not treated quickly.

“Efforts to keep the workplace safe certainly can be thwarted if employers and workers don’t keep in mind the threat posed by hot weather,” said Director Michael D. Kleinik, Illinois Department of Labor. “Employers should train workers and supervisors to recognize the symptoms of heat stroke and to immediately report anyone exhibiting symptoms.”

Symptoms of heat stroke include:

Confusion

Very high body temperature

Hot, dry skin or profuse sweating

Seizures

Loss of consciousness

If a worker shows signs of heat stroke, consider it a medical emergency. Administer first aid then call 911 if medical professionals are not available on site.

Get the victim to a shaded, cooler place and remove outer clothing. Soak them in cool water and, if possible, ice. A fan or air conditioning should also be used to keep to cool them.

Other hot weather safety tips include:

Stay hydrated by drinking at least 1½ to 2 quarts of fluids daily, even if you do not feel thirsty.

Avoid alcoholic beverages and drinks containing caffeine.

Avoid overexertion and strenuous outdoor activities if possible. If you work outdoors, remember to drink plenty of water and take frequent breaks in the shade.

Take advantage of cooling centers, public pools and air-conditioned stores and malls during periods of extreme heat. Even a few hours a day in air conditioning can help prevent heat-related illnesses.

Do not forget your pets. Offer pets extra water and place the water bowl in a shaded area if outdoors. Make sure pets have a shady refuge where they can escape direct sun exposure.

If you or someone around you begins experiencing dizziness, nausea, headache, confusion and a rapid pulse, seek medical attention immediately, as these could be the symptoms of heatstroke.

The State of Illinois offers many state-owned cooling centers to provide Illinoisans a place to stay cool and comfortable during hot summer days.

Tollway Oasis locations are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Department of Human Services cooling centers are open during normal business hours from 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

For a list of state facility cooling centers visit, Keep Cool Illinois.

Copyright 2019 KFVS. All rights reserved.