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Warming centers open to help cope with cold

The National Weather Service forecasts dangerously low temperatures today and Tuesday, with wind chill values reaching as low as  -5 degrees. The Evanston Health Department is urging residents to take preventive action to avoid weather-related illness, such as hypothermia or frostbite.

The National Weather Service forecasts dangerously low temperatures today and Tuesday, with wind chill values reaching as low as  -5 degrees. The Evanston Health Department is urging residents to take preventive action to avoid weather-related illness, such as hypothermia or frostbite.

Exposure to cold temperatures, whether indoors or outside, can be dangerous to anyone, but particularly the elderly, infants and young children, persons with disabilities and people on medication.

During times of extreme cold, residents are encouraged to take advantage of warming centers across the city.

Those without heat may visit the following public warming centers in Evanston:

  • Chandler-Newberger Center at 1028 Central St., open until 6 p.m.
  • Ecology Center at 2024 McCormick Blvd., open until 5 p.m.
  • Fleetwood-Jourdain Center at 1655 Foster St., open until 7 p.m.
  • Noyes Cultural Arts Center at 927 Noyes St., open until 7 p.m.
  • Levy Senior Center at 300 Dodge Ave., open until 9 p.m.
  • Robert Crown Center at 1701 Main St., open until 6 p.m. Mondays, until 8 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays, until 9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and noon to 4 p.m. on Sundays.

Hypothermia is the most serious of cold-related illnesses. Hypothermia is the result of prolonged exposure to cold. When a person experiences hypothermia their body temperature is so low that it affects the brain, making the person unable to think clearly or move well. The warning signs for adults are shivering, exhaustion, confusing, fumbling of hands, memory loss, slurred speech, and drowsiness. Warning signs for infants are bright, red colored skin and very low energy.

If you experience hypothermia:

  • If body temperature is below 95? Fahrenheit, seek medical attention immediately.
  • If medical attention is not available, get to a warm room or shelter, remove any wet clothing, begin warming the body from the center of the body out, drink warm beverages, and keep the body dry.

Frostbite, a milder form of cold-related illnesses, is an injury to the body that is caused by freezing. Frostbite causes a loss of feeling and color in affected areas, most often the face and extremities. Frostbite can severely damage the body and lead to amputation. The warning sings of frostbite are white or grayish-yellow skin areas, skin that feels unusually firm or waxy, and numbness.

If you experience frostbite:

  • If you detect symptoms of frostbite, seek medical care.
  • If medical attention is not available, and there no signs of hypothermia, get to a warm room or shelter, do not walk on frostbitten areas, immerse the affected area in warm (not hot) water, warm the affected area using body heat – but do not rub the area, and do not a use a heating pad, lamp or other heat producing electrical devices.

The Evanston Health Department recommends the following to prevent cold related issues:

  • Have an emergency supply kit for both your home and car. In the kit include such items as blankets, matches, a standard first-aid kit, flashlight, battery-powered radio, battery-powered clock or watch, extra batteries, snow shovel, booster cables, mobile phone, compass, tool kit, tow rope, tire chains and brightly colored cloth.
  • Conserve heat within the home by avoiding extra ventilation.
  • Monitor your body temperature
  • Keep a water supply
  • Eat and drink wisely by consuming well-balanced meals. Avoid alcoholic or caffeinated beverages.
  • Dress warmly and stay dry.
  • Avoid exertion.
  • Understand wind-chill.
  • Be cautious about travel.

For more information contact the Evanston Health Department at 847-866-2969 during business hours. After business hours please call the non-emergency number for the Evanston Police Department at 847-866-5000. 

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