Cook County Department of Public Health officials are advising residents to take precautions against the extremely cold temperatures today and in the coming days.
“The temperatures we are experiencing are dangerous and can lead to serious health issues such as frostbite, hypothermia, and heart problems if residents are not prepared,” said CCDPH chief operating officer, Terry Mason, MD, FACS, in a Cook County press release.
Cook County has warming centers open across the county. Locally, Palatine township has a warming center open Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.; at 721 S. Quentin Road. A full list of warming centers is available above or on the Cook County website.
In Palatine, a high of 17 is expected today with wind chill values as low as 12 degrees below zero. Tonight, the low will drop to 3 below zero with wind chill values reaching as low as 20 below zero. On Thursday, a high of 18 is expected with wind chill values as low as 15 below zero.
Temps are expected to reach a high of 26 on Friday.
Here are some tips for staying safe in the cold:
Dress For the Cold
- Wear a warm hat, and keep feet and hands warm and dry.
- Cover as much of your face as possible while outside, breathe through a scarf to warm air before it enters your lungs.
- Wear several layers of lightweight clothing, rather than one or two layers of heavy garments. The air between the garments acts as insulation to keep the body warmer.
Keep Your Vehicle Prepared
- Allow extra time when traveling and start your journey with a full tank of gas.
- Monitor weather conditions carefully and adhere to travel advisories.
- Keep a winter storm kit in your car. This should include blankets, food, flares, chains, gloves and first aid supplies. Watch this Lake County video for tips on how to prepare an emergency safety kit.
Stay Prepared at Home
- Do not use an oven as a heating device. Read directions before using space heaters and other portable heating units.
- Make sure cracks in windows and doors are repaired. For a quick fix, use towels, rugs or newspapers.
- Have bottled water, canned foods, flashlights and batteries on hand in case a winter storm keeps you indoors.
- Residents who have no heat should check with their local municipality or township about warming centers.
Stay Healthy and be Prepared to Seek Medical Help
- Be aware of the symptoms of hypothermia: confusion, dizziness, exhaustion and severe shivering
- Be aware of the symptoms of frostbite: gray, white or yellow skin discoloration, numbness, waxy feeling skin
- Drink warm, caffeine-free, non-alcoholic beverages to stay warm and hydrated.
- Check with your doctor or pharmacist about medications that could cause problems in cold weather.
- The elderly can be particularly vulnerable to extreme weather conditions; check often to make sure they are safe.