The Evanston Health Department has issued an extreme heat watch for today, Aug. 12. Temperatures are in the 90’s with heat index values at or above 100 degrees today and are projected in those ranges tomorrow. Nighttime temperatures in the mid 70’s with minimum heat index in the upper 70’s will provide little relief for residents.

The effects of extreme heat conditions on the human body are cumulative and can lead to variety of health complications, including heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Residents can follow a few simple tips to keep cool:

• Limit your outdoor activity to morning and evening hours.
• Cut down on exercise. If you must exercise, drink two to four glasses of cool, nonalcoholic fluids each hour. A sports beverage can replace the salt and minerals you lose in sweat.
• Stay indoors and, if at all possible, stay in an air-conditioned place. If your home does not have air conditioning, go to the shopping mall or public library–even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat.
• Electric fans may provide comfort, but when the temperature is in the high 90s, fans will not prevent heat-related illness. Taking a cool shower or bath, or moving to an air-conditioned place is a much better way to cool off.
• Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
• NEVER leave anyone, including pets, in a closed, parked vehicle.
• Provide plenty of fresh water for your pets, and leave the water in a shaded area.

Although any one at any time can suffer from heat-related illness, some people are at greater risk than others. Check regularly on:

• Infants and young children
• People aged 65 or older
• Those who are physically ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure
• Visit adults at risk at least twice a day and closely watch them for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Infants and young children, of course, need much more frequent watching.