BOLINGBROOK – If you can’t beat the heat, seek shelter in one of Bolingbrook’s three cooling centers.
That’s the message Will County and Bolingbrook officials deliver to residents during the dog days of summer – when rising temperatures and increased humidity levels can cause heat-related strokes, exhaustion, cramps and dehydration.
As a result, the Will County Emergency Management Agency again is responsible for more than 40 cooling centers throughout the region, all of which now are open to residents needing a temporary escape from the climbing temperatures and palpable humidity.
For the remainder of the summer, Bolingbrook will offer three cooling centers, at fire stations three, four and five.
Will County Health Department Media Services Manager Vic Reato said the cooling centers are not only temporary safe havens for passersby, but also are places where marginalized residents and those without air conditioning can take refuge during extreme conditions.
“The cooling centers are necessary because many people do not have air conditioning,” Reato said. “Also, we cannot forget about people who live on the streets, people who are here from out of town, those that do not have immediate access to water or anyone that just wants to cool off. They are very convenient and necessary.”
Elderly residents, young children, people who are mentally ill or individuals with chronic, underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, HIV or a compromised immune system, are especially vulnerable to heat-related ailments and should not spend prolonged time in extreme heat, Reato said.
He advises residents to be alert for symptoms such as dizziness, weakness, nausea, muscle cramps, unexplained sweating or sudden perspiration stoppage. Additionally, residents should drink lots of water and juices and avoid excessive consumption of alcoholic or caffeinated beverages.
“Remaining hydrated throughout the day is critical,” Reato said. “If you are feeling even the slightest bit dizzy, stop into a cooling station or a building with air conditioning. You would be surprised about how a quick hiatus into a cool place can cool down the body and prevent serious harm.”