Medical officials are warning people to take extra care to avoid the excessive heat after three potential heat-related deaths in Lake and Cook counties in the last three days.
Lake County Coroner Artis Yancey said an elderly man was discovered dead in his car in a Park City parking lot late Wednesday,
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Yancey said the death appears to be heat-related, but an autopsy scheduled for Thursday afternoon would help determine whether other factors contributed to the death.
Cook County Medical Center officials are also waiting for toxicology reports on two deaths reported Wednesday, one in Chicago and the other in Maywood. Both appear to be heat related, but toxicology tests are needed for a final determination, officials said.
The National Weather Service has issued an excessive heat warning for the Chicago region through Friday at 10 p.m. That means the area is expected to see dangerously hot temperatures for a prolonged period.
Temperatures are expected to swell to more than 100 degrees Friday, with a heat index that could reach as high as 113 degrees.
The Metra commuter rail service is warning of potential delays Friday because of the heat.
With warmer temperatures, it is necessary to operate trains at reduced speeds to compensate for heat-related stresses on the track, switches and signals, officials said.
Additional resources will be on standby for quick responses, they said.
Many towns are also requesting that people refrain from watering lawns and gardens during the heat wave in order to conserve water. The most recent town to ban water consumption was Highwood in Lake County, which asked residents to conserve water for drinking and cleaning purposes only. Town officials said they currently have safe levels of water, but excessive pumping during the hot weather puts excessive strain on the entire water pumping system.
Authorities are also asking people to stay indoors in air-conditioning as much as possible. People without air-conditioning are urged to go someplace with cool air, such as a library, shopping mall or cooling centers available in many counties.
Officials are also urging residents to check on their neighbors, especially the elderly and people with chronic illnesses.
People who must be outside should use sunscreen and wear light colored clothes in order to reduce heat. They should also drink plenty of water, even when not thirsty, and stay away from caffeine drinks and alcohol. Those beverages have a tendency to cause dehydration.
Motorists should not leave pets or children alone in a vehicle, and people are advised to avoid exertion outside, and to take a cool bath or shower should they become too hot.