There is so much to look forward to during the warm summer months in Chicago. You might be planning trips to the beach, amusement park visits or even attending an outdoor concert. What you might not be planning for, however, is for you, a friend, or family member to experience a heat related illness.
Temperatures could remain in the high 80s and 90s until late September in Chicago. This means it is vital to be prepared and keep the weather in mind when planning your next outdoor excursion, even if it is weeks or months away.
Heat Cramps, Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke Explained
To be better prepared for a heat-related illness it is important to know what symptoms to watch out for. One of the most common heat-related illnesses includes heat cramps, which involves heavy sweating and muscle cramping following an intense exercise.
Heat exhaustion is often a precursor to heat stroke with symptoms like excessive sweating, muscle cramps, skin turning pale and cool to the touch, feeling faint, and a rapid yet weak pulse.
Heat stroke is a very serious illness where an individual has a fast and strong pulse, no sweat, a splitting headache, and skin that is red, hot and dry. It’s also possible for a person experiencing a heat stroke to lose consciousness, which can lead to strange or confused behavior, convulsions, a stroke, or a heart attack.
What To Do When You Experience A Heat-Related Illness
According to the CDC nearly 700 people in the United States die from a heat stroke each year, which is why it’s important to know what to do if you get sick in hot weather.
Depending on which heat-related illness you are facing, you’ll have to take a different approach to getting help and cooling down safely. For example, with heat cramps you should stop all physical activity, drink water or a beverage with electrolytes, move to a cool location, and wait for the cramping to subside.
Heat exhaustion should be treated similarly by moving to a cool location, drinking sips of water, having cool damp cloths placed on your body or taking a cool bath.
With either of these illnesses, you should seek medical attention immediately if you vomit, symptoms worsen or if you suffer from any underlying heart conditions.
Any sign of a heat stroke, however, is considered a medical emergency. 911 should be called for immediate assistance, but until they arrive you or the person experiencing the heat stroke need to be safely tended to. This includes being moved to a cool location, having cool cloths applied to their body, and refraining from drinking any beverages.
Preparing Your Heat Illness Prevention Checklist
While we cannot predict when a heat-related illness might occur, there are several ways to be prepared. Here are just a few that the CDC advises for those experiencing hot weather:
- Wear lightweight and loose-fitted clothing. Lighter colored clothing reflects light rather than absorbs it as well, which allows your body to stay cool.
- Venture out earlier in the day to avoid higher temperatures. Alternatively, planning evening excursions close to or after sunset helps you stay safer and cooler.
- Regularly apply sunscreen to avoid a sunburn.
- Remember not to leave any living being in the car, even for just a few minutes. It doesn’t take long for internal temperatures to rise to dangerous levels, and lead to heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
- Plan for regular visits indoors to cool down and relax.
- Eat something cool and light, because hot and heavy meals can increase your body temperature.
Ensure You Stay Cool With Air Conditioning Maintenance Services Nearby
It doesn’t take long for Chicago’s sweltering summer heat to rapidly turn dangerous. Make sure your air conditioning is in great shape to battle the elements with the help of Heatmasters.
Our technicians specialize in numerous air conditioning services including regular maintenance, emergency repairs, installation and more. Since 1950 we’ve been trusted by Chicagoans to help them with all of their heating, cooling and ventilation needs.
Schedule your appointment today to make sure your air conditioning runs smoothly by calling 773-777-5700.