Features

Chill out this week – your health depends on it

Too much fun in the sun isn’t a good idea for the next couple of days

Kathy Bieser and her son Robbie, 2 years old, beat the heat by playing at Commissioners Park’s splash pad in Frankfort. Monday, June 13, 2022 in Frankfort.

Remember “Midnight Sun,” the classic “Twilight Zone” episode where the earth moves out of orbit and into the direction of the sun?

Well, temperatures in Will County this week won’t be as hot as the 130 degrees shown in “Midnight Sun.” But the heat index could reach 110 degrees, Scott Baker, meteorologist at the National Weather Service said on Monday.

Not enough to melt paintings. But enough to be dangerous to people and animals.

According to the National Weather Service, “mortality begins to increase exponentially as the heat increases or stays above a heat index of 104 degrees.”

“The biggest things if you’re working outside is to make sure you are drinking plenty of fluids,” Baker said. “And wear lightweight, light-colored clothing.”

Although Monday wasn’t exactly winter weather, Baker said the “real heat and humidity will set in tomorrow” (Tuesday) when temperatures climb into the 90s for the rest of the week.

Couple those high temperatures with the high humidity and the heat index will soar past 100 degrees, he said.

Is that unusual for June?

“Not really,” Baker said. “We are in the summertime.”

A 2012 Herald-News story listed a few years when temperatures in Will County rose to 100 degrees (or more) in June: June 7, 1933: 100; June 27, 1933: 100; June 1, 1934: 102; June 27, 1944: 100; June 28, 1952: 101; June 19, 1953: 102; June 20, 1953: 104; June 25, 1954: 100; June 27, 1971: 101; June 28, 1971: 101; June 20, 1988: 104; June 21, 1988: 101; and June 25, 1988: 103.

However, this week’s heat is actually good news for some farmers, such as Rita McGann, whose family farms corn and soybeans on the east side of Joliet.

The hot days coupled with all the moisture in the ground from the recent rains produces a greenhouse effect that’s “perfect growing weather,” at least for the corn McGann’s family has already planted, she said.

Soybean planting is late, but “that’s because it’s been too wet around our area to get anything in the ground,” McGann said.

Baker said Will County residents should get a break from the heat just in time for the weekend before temperatures spike again next week.

“If you consider the mid-80s much of a break,” Baker said.

In the meantime, Jim Chuporak of Joliet suggests staying home and watching Christmas movies. Because that’s what he’ll be doing.

“It’s actually Hallmark Christmas movies,” Chuporak said. “And if it gets real hot, I put on ‘White Christmas.’”

How to stay safe in the heat

Kate Richardson washes a car for a fundraiser. The Rhino 13U Softball team took advantage of the warm weather to hold a car wash to raise funds for the team. Monday, June 13, 2022 in Joliet.

In addition to hanging out in air-conditioned spaces (home, mall, restaurants, movie theaters, cooling centers) with the lights dimmed and the shades drawn, the Illinois Department of Public Health also recommends you do the following to stay cool:

• Drink plenty of water and natural juices

• Avoid alcoholic and caffeinated beverages.

• Skip heavy meals.

• Keep the oven turned off.

• Don’t exert yourself.

• Never leave kids, animals or yourself in a hot car.

• Wear lightly colored, loose fitting clothing.

• Check on your neighbors and family members, especially if they are elderly.

Don’t have air-conditioning and need a break from the heat? The Will County Emergency Management Agency has a list of cooling centers on its website. Visit willcountyema.org/warmingcooling.

You should also know the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

According to Edward-Elmhurst Health, dizziness, headache, nausea and passing out are symptoms of both heat exhaustion and heat stroke. So how to tell the difference? And how to treat them?

Symptoms of heat exhaustion: cold/pale/clammy skin, heavy sweating, muscle cramps, weakness.

Symptoms of untreated heat stroke: a strong and fast pulse, confusion or hallucinations, high body temperature (103 degrees and higher), skin that is damp, dry, hot or red.

How to treat heat exhaustion: Get inside a cool place, loosen or remove heavy clothing, sip cool water and place wet cloths on your skin or, if possible, take a cool bath. Still feeling symptoms after one hour? Call 911.

How to treat heat stroke: Call 911 immediately. Heat stroke is a medical emergency.