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Heat index to reach above 100 degrees this week; county health officials urge caution

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RACINE COUNTY — Health departments in Racine County urge residents to protect themselves from heat-related illness this week, as weather forecasters predict the heat index could rise above 100 degrees.

“We ask everyone to take precautions to avoid heat exhaustion, and to check on their family, friends and neighbors who may be especially vulnerable to extreme heat,” Margaret Gesner, health officer for the Central Racine County Health Department, stated in a press release.

According to the National Weather Service, hot and humid conditions this week Tuesday through Sunday will result in heat index values in the mid to upper 90s at times. Heat index values could rise above 100 degrees on Thursday and Friday.

Most heat-related illnesses involve the elderly or individuals who have chronic illnesses, but also at risk are children, athletes and outdoor workers.

“Infants, young children, older adults and people with chronic disease have a tougher time regulating their body temperature,” Dottie-Kay Bowersox, Public Health Administrator for the City of Racine Public Health Department stated in a press release. “Please help them stay cool and hydrated.”

Heat-related risks include:

  • Heat cramps—This includes muscular pains and spasms resulting from heavy exertion. These symptoms are often the first signal that the body is suffering from excessive heat.
  • Heat exhaustion—This includes fainting, rash, fatigue, and nausea. Skin may become clammy and moist.
  • Heat/sun stroke—This is a life-threatening condition. Symptoms include: hot, dry skin, the absence of sweat, nausea, confusion, and unconsciousness.
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To prevent risks from excessive heat, individuals should do the following:

  • Seek air-conditioning: If your home does not have air-conditioning, seek areas that do during the warmest period of the day.
  • If you must stay in a home without air-conditioning, stay on the lowest floor out of the sunshine.
  • Avoid strenuous activities: This is particularly true during the hottest time of the day. Individuals who perform strenuous work during the heat of the day are especially at risk.
  • Wear light-weight, light-colored clothing: Light colors reflect the sun’s rays better than dark colors, which absorb the heat. Protect the face and head with a wide-brimmed hat.
  • Check on family members, neighbors and friends who are vulnerable. Move them to air-conditioned places if possible.
  • Drink plenty of fluids. Increase fluid intake even if you are not thirsty.
  • Never leave pets or people, especially children and infants, unattended in cars during a heat wave.

If heat risks do occur, cool the body as soon as possible, and call 9-1-1 for symptoms of heat stroke.

Please go to the health department websites or visit 211wisconsin.communityos.org for a list of Extreme Heat Cooling Centers in Racine County.

Additional resources can be found at:

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Reporter

Christina Lieffring covers the City of Racine and the City of Burlington and is a not-bad photographer. In her spare time she tries to keep her plants and guinea pigs alive and happy.

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