After days with temperatures in the upper 90s, relief from the extreme heat might soon be in sight, with cooler temperatures expected to materialize in the area Sunday.
Friday’s high temperature was 99 degrees, with the heat index at 113. According to temperatures recorded at DeKalb Taylor Municipal Airport, the peak temperature for both Thursday and Friday was 99 degrees. Heat indices peaked at 109 Thursday and 108 Wednesday.
An excessive heat warning remains in effect for DeKalb County until 7 p.m. today, according to the National Weather Service. Heat indices were expected to peak between 105 and 118 degrees Friday and this afternoon. Temperatures for next week are predicted to be in the 80s.
Sharon Emanuelson, spokeswoman for Kishwaukee Community Hospital, said local doctors have seen a lot of dehydration issues and are seeing people come in with kidney stones, which can be caused by dehydration.
Andrew Oleksyn, medical director of the hospital’s emergency room, said hospital staff saw two or three patients with kidney stones Friday.
Emanuelson encouraged people to drink plenty of water and avoid alcohol or sugary drinks. It’s important to stay out of the sun and remain indoors if possible, she said.
Not only does such extended extreme heat take a physical toll, but it also can affect mental health. Fran Tierney, psychotherapist and coordinator of special programs for the Ben Gordon Center, said exposure to extreme heat and humidity can increase stress levels and irritability while making it difficult to concentrate.
The body and brain can be affected by heat, she said, sometimes causing confusion, dizziness, disorientation, bizarre behavior and combativeness.
“Mental health and physical health are definitely impacted by this extreme heat and humidity,” Tierney said.
Tierney also said she’s read that those with mental health issues or those taking antipsychotic or antianxiety medications tend to be more susceptible to heat-related illnesses.
When someone deals with anxiety, body heat increases. Combined that with extreme heat, and “it can definitely set the stage for heat stroke,” she said.
Typically, Tierney said she encourages clients to be physically active by taking a walk or being outdoors, but staying active outside can be dangerous in extreme heat. Inability to keep up normal routines, such as a daily walk, can be challenging for some, too.
Hydration is crucial, so it’s important to drink water, especially if taking medication, Tierney said. She encouraged people to try to enjoy being inside and be creative with indoor activities, such as an indoor picnic with family. Movie theaters also offer an indoor activity in a cool setting, she said.
As people remain inside and keep air conditioning going, power continues to be in high demand, ComEd spokesman Paul Callighan said. The company has dealt with isolated power outages but has made repairs fairly quickly, he said.
The most significant issue involved Kishwaukee College, which closed for the afternoon Thursday while ComEd repaired a bad electrical cable to a transformer, he said.
While temperatures continue to hover around 100 degrees, Callighan encouraged people to pull drapes and draw shades to reduce the amount of sunlight coming into a home. Keeping the inside temperature at 78 degrees or slightly higher while using fans to circulate air offers the best efficiency, he said.
If there is a power outage, Callighan said customers should have their account numbers on hand and call 1-800-EDISON1.