DeKALB - DeKalb Fire Chief Jeff McMaster announced Friday no public cooling centers are open in DeKalb at this time due to crowd concerns from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Two locations in Sycamore will serve as cooling centers, however, according to a news release from the Sycamore Fire Department. Highs are expected to remain in the 90s throughout the holiday weekend and into next week, with an expected humidity between 56 to 70%.
Individuals whose homes are not air-conditioned are invited to use the following places in Sycamore as a cooling center: Sycamore Center, 308 West State St. Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. or the Sycamore Public Safety Building after business hours seven days a week at 535 DeKalb Avenue.
Both fire departments are encouraging residents to also check on their elderly neighbors to ensure they're safe or call 911 if signs of heatstroke are feared.
The DeKalb Fire Department also released information to educate residents on knowing the signs of heat-related illness, which could be fatal if not treated.
Heatstroke can be potentially fatal for elderly, young or others participating in strenuous activities such as sports in hot and humid conditions, the release states. In extreme heat and high humidity, evaporation is slowed, and the body must work extra hard to maintain a normal temperature. Most heat disorders occur because as person has been overexposed to heat or has over-exercised for his or her age and physical condition. Older adults, young children, and those who are sick or overweight are more likely to succumb to extreme heat.
Conditions that can induce heat-related illnesses include stagnant atmospheric conditions and poor air quality. Consequently, people living in urban areas may be at greater risk from the effects of a prolonged heat wave than those living in rural areas. Also, asphalt and concrete store heat longer and gradually release heat at night, which can produce higher nighttime temperatures known as the “urban heat island effect.”
Heat cramps are often the first sign that you may be struggling with heat-related health issues, and could experience muscular pains and spasms. Heat exhaustion occurs when people exercise heavily or work in hot, humid conditions and do not stay hydrated due to heavy sweating. Blood flow to the skin increases, causing blood flow to decrease to the vital organs. This results in a form of mild shock. If not treated, you condition condition will worsen. Body temperature will keep rising and the victim may suffer heat stroke.
Heat stroke, sometimes known as sun stroke, is a life-threatening condition. The person's temperature control system, which produces sweating to cool the body, stops working, and your body temperature can rise so high that brain damage and death may result if not cooled quickly.
To prepare for extreme heat, fire departments recommend you install window air conditioners snugly and insulate your home if necessary, checking air-conditioning ducts for proper insulation.
Install temporary window reflectors (for use between windows and drapes), such as aluminum foil-covered cardboard, to reflect heat back outside, weather-strip doors and sills to keep cool air in, cover windows that receive morning or afternoon sun with drapes, shades, awnings, or louvers. (Outdoor awnings or louvers can reduce the heat that enters a home by up to 80 %), and keep storm windows up all year.
Circulate air with fans can cool the body by increasing the perspiration rate of evaporation, eat well-balanced, light, and regular meals, and avoid using salt tablets unless directed to do so by a physician.
Drink plenty of water, however, those who have epilepsy or heart, kidney, or liver disease, are on fluid-restricted diets, or have a problem with fluid retention should consult a doctor before increasing liquid intake.
Limit intake of alcoholic beverages, dress in loose-fitting, lightweight, and light-colored clothes that cover as much skin as possible, protect your face and head by wearing a wide-brimmed hat, check on family, friends, and neighbors who do not have air conditioning and who spend much of their time alone.
Never leave children or pets alone in closed vehicles, as car interiors can reach lethal temperatures in a matter of minutes.
This article has been edited to include the correct name of the Public Safety Building in Sycamore that is serving as one of the city's cooling centers. The Daily Chronicle regrets the error.