Unless you’ve been on an extended vacation to Alaska, you’ve probably noticed that this has been one of the hottest, driest, summers on record in Chicago. Facing so many days that have been above 90 degrees, it’s more important than ever to remember to check on those who are in an at risk population, such as seniors and infants, to make sure they don’t suffer from weather related illnesses like heat stroke.

Heat stroke happens when the body’s temperature is raised abnormally and can be accompanied by physical symptoms such as:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • fatigue
  • weakness
  • headache
  • muscle cramps and aches
  • dizziness
  • the absence of sweating, with hot red or flushed dry skin
  • rapid pulse
  • difficulty breathing
  • strange behavior
  • hallucinations
  • confusion
  • agitation
  • disorientation
  • high body temperature
  •  seizure, and/or coma

Heat stroke is a serious medical emergency and can be fatal if not promptly and properly treated. The best way to avoid heat stroke is by staying hydrated in temperature controlled locations. The government provides a number of cooling centers throughout the area. Be sure to check the list of cooling centers here in the city and all over Illinois.

If you suspect someone is suffering from heat stroke, you should immediately move that person out of the sun and into a cool, shady or air-conditioned space. Call 911 and then try to cool the person down by spraying them with cool water or wiping them with a damp towel or sheet. Using direct air with a fan or newspaper will also help especially after applying the cool water. Also try to have the person drink some water, or a cool non alcoholic and caffeine free beverage.

Stay cool!

 Today’s post is by Senior Coordinator of Senior Services, Rosie Drumgoole.