The National Weather Service and the Evanston Health Department have issued heat advisories for today — and to make matters worse, the city’s beaches are closed.

The heat advisory will be in effect from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. with temperatures forecast to rise to about 100 degrees and heat indices approaching 105 degrees.

The beaches are closed today because of high e.coli bacteria counts reported from water samples gathered at the beaches Tuesday.

The Health Department urges all residents to take preventive actions to avoid heat-related illness, such as heat stroke.

Those without air conditioning may visit the following public buildings today to cool down:

  • Chandler-Newberger Community Center at 1028 Central St., open until 7 p.m.
  • Ecology Center at 2024 McCormick Blvd. open until 5 p.m.
  • Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center at 1655 Foster St., open until 9 p.m.
  • Levy Senior Center at 300 Dodge Ave., open until 9 p.m.
  • Robert Crown Community Center at 1701 Main St., open until midnight.

Although anyone at any time can suffer from heat-related illness, some people are at greater risk than others. The Health Department recommends checking regularly on:

  • Infants and young children;
  • People aged 65 or older;
  • People who have a mental illness; and
  • Those who are physically ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure.

The Health Department offers several prevention tips:

  • Drink more fluids (non-alcoholic), regardless of your activity level. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink.
  • Don’t drink liquids that contain alcohol or large amounts of sugar–these actually cause you to lose more body fluid. Also, avoid very cold drinks, as they can cause stomach cramps.
  • Stay indoors and, if at all possible, stay in an air-conditioned place. If your home does not have air conditioning, go to the shopping mall or public library–even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat.
  • Electric fans may provide comfort, but when the temperature is in the high 90s, fans will not prevent heat-related illness. Taking a cool shower or bath, or moving to an air-conditioned place is a much better way to cool off.
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
  • Never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle.

For more information on heat illness prevention tips or other emergency preparedness and response, please visit the city website or call 311.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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