MOLINE, Ill. — As we enter the second week of May, the Quad Cities is on track to experience an early-season heat wave that will push temperatures into the 90s and create a fiery heat index with feels-like temperatures of 100 degrees or more.
Here are some tips on how to stay safe in the blazing heat:
Protect yourself from the sun
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you can reduce your risk of sun damage by wearing lightweight, loose and light-colored clothing. For the most sun protection, put on a wide-brimmed hat and sunscreen that is SPF 15 or higher on any exposed skin. Sunglasses can also protect your eyes from harmful UV rays.
Monitor signs of heat-related illness
The body normally cools itself off by sweating, but during extreme heat, perspiration might not be enough. Heat-related illnesses, such as heat stroke or heat exhaustion, happen when a person's body temperature rises faster than it can cool itself down and can cause damage to the brain and other important organs, according to the CDC.
Here are some signs and symptoms of heat-related illness to watch out for:
- Heavy sweating.
- Fast or weak pulse.
When symptoms emerge, it's important to get to a cooler place, lower your body temperature with a cool cloth or bath and drink water, according to the CDC. If symptoms get worse or last longer than an hour, get medical help immediately.
Keep kids, pets, those at higher risk safe
Children, pets and older adults are more vulnerable to extreme heat.
Dress kids in loose, lightweight and cool-colored clothing and make sure they're drinking plenty of fluids. Keep pets indoors, and if they must go outside, make sure there is shade and plenty of water for them to keep cool.
Never leave children or pets in a parked car. Leaving a window open is not enough, according to the CDC, because temperatures can rise almost 20 degrees in the first 10 minutes!
Get your AC running
Don't rely solely on fans to keep you cool in severe heat. You'll turn down the thermostat, and if it's the first time you're turning the air conditioner on this year, there are some steps you'll need to take.
You can make an appointment with an HVAC technician to come out to perform safety and efficiency checks and to clean out outdoor units ahead of the first hot day, Crawford Company Service Technician Casey Merhens said.
"Make sure you have a certified person go in there and check it all out and make sure it looks good before you start it up," Merhens said.
Indoors, it's also important to make sure your air filter is clean and changed often, Merhens said.
If you don't have air conditioning in your home, drink more water than usual and take cool baths or showers. Iowa and Illinois residents can apply for government assistance with paying their energy bills through the Low Income Home Energy Assitance Program.
Visit a cooling center
Need to get out of the heat? Spend some time at air-conditioned public places like a shopping mall or a local library for a few hours.
There are a few designated cooling centers in the Quad Cities area, including:
Get your full, up-to-date weather forecast from WQAD News 8.