With record-breaking temperatures expected this week, Governor Pat Quinn is urging residents to take advantage of the state's cooling centers. Governor Quinn today opened more than 100 cooling centers throughout Illinois to help those without air conditioning beat the heat.
"I urge everyone in Illinois to take the proper precautions to stay safe and cool today as temperatures approach record-breaking highs," Governor Quinn said. "The state's cooling centers offer a clean, safe place to stay during the hottest part of the day."
The cooling centers are located at Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) offices throughout the state. IDHS cooling centers are open to the public during regular business hours from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. In addition to the IDHS cooling centers, the Illinois Tollway Oases in the Chicago area are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Governor Quinn and the Illinois Department of Public Health are encouraging Illinois residents to watch for signs of heat-related illnesses. These symptoms include headaches, skin that is hot to the touch, increased body temperature, loss of consciousness, seizures and irregular heartbeats.
To stay cool and avoid illness, people should increase their fluid intake but avoid drinks with caffeine, alcohol and sugar; decrease strenuous, outdoor physical activity; and remain in air-conditioning when possible.
The Illinois Department on Aging also encourages relatives and friends to make daily visits or calls to senior citizens living alone. When temperatures and humidity are extremely high, seniors and people with chronic health conditions should be monitored for dehydration and other effects of extreme heat. Additionally, seniors should eat lighter meals, take longer and more frequent rests, and drink plenty of fluids.
To find a cooling center near you, call the IDHS hotline at (800) 843-6154 or visit keepcool.illinois.gov.