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Keeping cool in hot times

Heat advisory issued for the Illinois Valley

PRINCETON — Monday’s high temperatures and humidity caused a National Weather Service two-day heat advisory for the Illinois Valley.

The advisory is in effect until 7 p.m. today, Tuesday. Temperatures were to climb into the 90s with dew points in the 70s, which had meteorologists talking about heat indices of 100 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit.

With the hot, humid weather comes the concerns of health risks for many — especially seniors citizens, young children and pets. People are reminded to stay hydrated, keep out of the heat as much as possible and check on elderly neighbors to make sure they are staying cool.

Denise Ihrig, director of the Bureau County Senior Center, said the senior center facility is a cooling center for anyone looking to get out of the weather. The center provides cool air conditioning and is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. everyday.

The senior center is also loaning out extra fans to those in need.

The last thing anybody wants to do in this heat is run the stove or oven. The senior center provides lunch at noon Monday through Friday to anyone wishing to stop by. Those planning to attend are asked to call ahead the day before by 10 a.m., so that cooks have plenty of time to prepare.

Many area schools announced early dismissals and canceled after-school activities on Monday because of the high heat index.

Princeton Elementary District Superintendent Tim Smith said when schools were opened up in the morning, the air inside was very oppressive, and the humidity condensation on the floors, windows and railings were a big safety concern.

When deciding on whether to dismiss school or not, Smith said it comes down to health and safety reasons. He thinks about the many students and teachers who are asthmatics or have other health concerns that could be effected by the humidity, and it’s best not to risk it.

Smith said when you get 20-25 students and one teacher in a room, the body heat on top of the humidity creates a very uncomfortable environment.

With an early dismissal, the hope is students will go home, stay inside and find relief from the weather.

Another thing to watch is pets.

As previously reported in the Bureau County Republican, Princeton Animal Control Officer Nancy Bland reminds to watch for the simple things: Make sure adequate shelter is out of direct sunlight; make sure pets have plenty of water; and double check to make sure the water bowl cannot be tipped over in any way.

On these hot, humid days, it’s best to not take pets in the car, unless the driver is planning to keep the air conditioning on the entire time.

Dogs have an average body temperature of 101.5 to 102.2 degrees Fahrenheit. A dog can withstand a body temperature of 107 to 108 degrees Fahrenheit for only a short period of time before suffering irreparable brain damage or even death.

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