Evanston residents can count on the weather to provide some sizzle to their summer.
Low Cost Tips to Staying Cooler.
Stay hydrated with icy water or sugar-free beverages. The Illinois Department of Public Health recommends drinking more liquid than thirst indicates during hot weather. Even if one remains indoors and limits activity, the body still needs to replace lost fluids, salt and minerals. Drink a minimum of six to eight 8-oz. glasses of cool fluids daily. Having a “cold one” (beer) or other alcoholic beverage, on the other hand, can further dehydrate the body. This goes for caffeinated drinks, too.
Wear loose-fitting, light-colored clothing, which reflects away some of the sun’s energy. Summer is a good time to wear organic cotton shorts and tank tops and summer-weight linen.
Keep shades and curtains drawn during the Day. Sunlight streaming through windows creates a miniature greenhouse effect in homes.
Avoid strenuous outdoor activity. During heavy exercise, drink two to four glasses of cool fluids each hour.
When spending time outdoors, avoid direct sunlight and use a sunscreen with an SPF greater than 15 to protect against sunburn. Borrow a tip from gardeners and wear a broad-brimmed hat.
Plant trees on the side of the house that gets the most sun. It will provide extra shade and protection from the sun’s rays.
Replace incandescent lights; they generate a lot more heat than CFL or LED bulbs.
Avoid Using the Stove and Oven. They add unnecessary heat to the house. Use the outdoor grill or make a salad or sandwich. Other alternatives are rice-, slow- and pressure-cookers.
When temperatures fall after the sunset, open a few windows so breezes can come through and cool the house.
Take Care of Pets.
Dogs and cats react to hot weather much the same as humans do. Offer pets extra water and place the dish in a shaded area if outdoors. Make sure pets have a protected place where they can get away from the sun.
Be a Good Neighbor.
At least twice a day check on older (65+) residents and those who live alone. Help anyone without air conditioning seek a nearby facility that is air conditioned. During periods of extreme heat, the City of Evanston provides cooling shelters at its recreation centers and the Levy Senior Center. Even short periods in a cool environment will lessen the risk of heat injury. Fans alone will not effectively cool an overheated person when air temperatures are above 100°F.
This bears repeating as each summer people tend to forget: Never leave children, the elderly or pets in a parked car, not even for just a few minutes. The air temperature inside a car rises rapidly during hot weather and can lead to brain damage or death.
If someone becomes a victim of heat-related illness, follow these steps recommended by the American Red Cross:
• Cool the body. Get them to a cool or shady place if possible and allow to rest in a comfortable position.
• Give fluids. If they are fully awake and alert, give a half glass of cool water or sports beverage every 15 minutes. Do not allow drinking too quickly and do not give liquids with alcohol or caffeine in them, as they can make conditions worse.
• Minimize shock. Remove or loosen tight clothing and apply cool, wet towels or sheets. A person who vomits, has decreased alertness or complete loss of consciousness and/or high body temperature is likely to have heatstroke. Call 911 and quickly wrap the victim in wet sheets, then fan. If ice or cold packs, wrap them in cloth and place on each of the person’s wrists and ankles, in the armpits and on the neck to cool the large blood vessels.
Contact Eco Gal at info@evanston roundtable.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.