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Looking for ways to beat the high heat

Precautions urged as the heat indexes rise over 100

As the temperature climbed to 90 degrees Wednesday morning, Morris resident Chelsea Farrell headed for the one place to get respite on such a day: the pool.

Her sister had brought one of her children to swim lessons, and Farrell took the opportunity to spend some time with her niece while cooling off from the already-oppressive heat.

“It’s too hot to play outside otherwise,” Farrell said. “We’re going to spend three or four hours here until the kids get tired.”

“Then we’re going to go inside [to the air conditioning].”

The Chicago area, along with other parts of the Midwest and Northeast, was put on alert Wednesday as a heat wave settled over the region.

With the steamy weather predicted to last through Friday, Wednesday saw temperatures in the low 90s and heat index values around 100 in Grundy County, according to the National Weather Service in Chicago in a hazardous weather outlook.

Things are expected to get worse before they get better.

Before the heat wave is predicted to break late on Friday, the NWS has called for temperatures in the mid-90s and heat indexes that could get over 100 for the next two days.

Janet Long, public relations director for Morris Hospital & Healthcare Centers, said Wednesday afternoon that the hospital had not seen any major heat-related problems.

Still, numerous health organizations in Illinois have issued warnings in response to the heat wave.

The American Red Cross in Chicago issued a statement reminding the public to take precautions in the heat.

“Excessive heat can be deadly,” said Fran Edwardson, CEO of the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago. “It has caused more deaths in recent years than all other weather events.”

The Red Cross had some common sense suggestions, such as staying indoors, wearing light-colored clothing, and drinking plenty of fluids.

The Illinois Department of Public Health issued its own statement, warning against heat-stroke.

“It’s important for people to recognize the signs of heat-related illness and take action to prevent becoming sick,” said Dr. Lamar Hasbrouck, public health director. “High heat and humidity can lead to serious health problems.”

Symptoms of heat-stroke include headache; hot, red skin; body temperature of 105 degrees fahrenheit or more; loss of consciousness; and seizures and irregular heartbeat.

Symptoms of heat exhaustion include dizziness, clammy skin, nausea, perspiration and muscle cramps or tremors.

Hasbrouck reminded that while all residents should take precautions, young children, people over 65, and those who are ill are especially at risk.

Officials also suggested taking precautions with pets.

The heat is expected to give way to storms Friday evening, with weekend temperatures in the low 80s.

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