The Chicago SunTimes says 100. The Chicago Tribune/WGN's Tommy Skilling says 100 too!
What am I talking about?
The Chicagoland weather forecast for Friday through Saturday, July 1st and 2nd. That means heat and dangerously high temperatures. It also means sunshine. Lots and lots of sunshine.
Two of summer's most potentially damaging health issues can result from heat and sun. A cool, comfortable place to stay during extreme temperatures is a must for Chicagoland residents and visitors. The State of Illinois' "Keep Cool" Campaign makes over 120 state facilities available as cooling centers. Cooling centers are open throughout normal business hours (8:30 am to 5:30 pm, Monday through Friday) at these facilities. Extra information is available by calling the Illinois Department of Human Services hotline at (800) 843-6154.
Many park districts, libraries, churches, community centers and more are available as cooling centers throughout Chicago and Chicagoland communities. If looking for a cooling center in your community, please check with your local village hall or police station. They should be able to direct you to the nearest center or to those that can provide assistance.
If you know of seniors that live in your area, please ... check on them periodically to make sure they are safe and comfortable throughout this heat wave. They are among the most sensitive to high temperatures and the health damage it can cause. Additional info on the "Keep Cool" Illinois campaign can be viewed at: http://www2.illinois.gov/KEEPCOOL/Pages/coolingcenters.aspx.
The second health issue surrounds the protection of your eyes to high-intensity light. The sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays can severely damage the lens and cornea of your eyes. Those that work outside are particularly susceptible, often getting cataracts. Should outdoor work be near water, concrete, or sand ... the light bouncing off these surfaces can be especially damaging.
Sunglasses are a must and should be worn whenever outdoors, whether in hot, mild, or cold weather. How do you know what sunglasses protect your eyes best though?
When shopping for sunglasses, pick those that offer the following:
- Full protection against the UV rays ... both UVB and UVA. That means the lenses block either 99% or 100% of these rays.
- Also make sure that the lenses meet the standards of the American National Standards Institute.
- Lenses that block light rays with wavelengths of up to 400 nanometers (UV 400).
- Gray lenses. Sunglasses with gray lenses cause the least color distortion when worn.
- Polarized lenses. Polarized lenses address reflected glare issues, improving the ability to see.
- Wraparound sunglasses protect you best. They block light from entering from the side and hitting your eyes.
- Larger lenses are recommended for the same reason. Coverage from brow to cheekbone is best.
Adding additional light coverage is good. Wearing a hat with a protective brim, along with sunglasses, will block sunrays more completely from hitting both skin and eyes. Sunlight is at its' strongest and most intense between the hours of 10 am to 4 pm. Limiting exposure during those hours, if possible, is wise.
Contact lenses are now created that can protect eyes from UVA and UVB light too. Check with your eye doctor to make sure that any contacts you have are recommended by the American Optometric Association.
Sunglasses should be worn from early ages on. Just like being in a carseat, toddlers/youngsters should learn that sunglasses are meant to protect them and are a necessary piece of "equipment". Children's sunglasses should follow the same guidelines as adults. To make it more enjoyable for kids to wear sunglasses, let them choose something that is protective, but fun.
Enjoy the warm weather that this 4th of July holiday will bring, but protect your health, eyes, and each other throughout the hot days ...