After a long winter, few things excite Chicagoans quite like summer months! It's an opportunity to spend time outdoors and to explore the wonderful things the city has to offer!
But while we’re out enjoying the sun it is important to be safe especially during those extremely hot days. For seniors, it’s especially important to stay cool during the summer months. Exposure to excessive heat can have negative interactions with medications, cause dehydration, and can lead to hyperthermia, more commonly known as heatstroke.
According to the Mayo Clinic signs of heat stroke include:
- High body temperature of 104 F (40 C) or higher
- An altered mental state; feelings of confusion, agitation, slurred speech, irritability, and delirium
- Nausea and vomiting
- Flushed skin
- Rapid breathing
- Racing heart rate
You should seek immediate attention if you or someone you know are experiencing the symptoms of a heat stroke.
Heat stroke is preventable. Here are somethings you can do to stay cool:
- Use Sunscreen - Using sunscreen of at least SPF 15 to avoid a sunburn is important for avoiding heat stroke because sunburns make it difficult for our body to cool down naturally.
- Stay Hydrated - Drinking fluids and staying hydrated are important for staying healthy and are especially important for maintaining a healthy body temperature.
- Dress Lightly - Wear loose fitting and lightweight clothing to avoid overheating yourself.
- Use Curtains or Blinds - Keep your home cool by using the blinds or curtains in your windows facing east in the mornings and west in the afternoons.
If you know a senior who is living alone, be sure to check in on them with a visit or phone call on hot days. If you are unable to make contact, call 3-1-1 and request a well-being check.
Access to air conditioning is also important. During the summer months, the Chicago Department of Family and Support Services operates six cooling centers located inside of the City’s six Community Service Centers.
Additional City facilities including libraries, police stations or other structures might be made available after hours, on weekends, or on holidays, as conditions warrant.
Chicago’s seniors can stay cool when they use our 21 Senior Centers during their regular hours of operation.
To learn the location of the closest available Cooling Center at any given time, call 3-1-1.