Chicago heat wave: How to stay cool as heat index soars past 100 degrees

ByABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Thursday, August 24, 2023
Chicago breaks, ties records during heat wave
Chicago broke and tied several records in this two-day heat wave.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A heat advisory is already in place and an excessive heat warning is likely on the horizon as temperatures and the heat index soar.

The best way to avoid heat related illness and stay safe during the heat wave is to stay indoors and use fans and air conditioning to keep your home cool, limit your time outdoors, stay out of the sun, and drinks lots of water and fluids to remain hydrated. Also check on your relatives and neighbors, especially if they are elderly.

But if you can't stay inside or your home is not sufficiently cooled, there are resources around Chicago to help.

Chicago cooling centers

The City of Chicago has cooling centers at the city's six community service centers. They are open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the following locations:

  • Englewood Center: 1140 West 79th Street
  • King Center: 4314 South Cottage Grove Avenue
  • North Area Center: 845 West Wilson Avenue
  • South Chicago Center: 8650 South Commercial Avenue
  • Trina Davila Center: 4312 West North Avenue
  • Garfield Center: 10 South Kedzie Avenue
  • Several senior centers are also open as cooling centers Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the following locations:

  • Central West Center: 2102 West Ogden Avenue
  • Northeast Senior Center: 2019 West Lawrence Avenue
  • Northwest Senior Center: 3160 North Milwaukee Avenue
  • Renaissance Court: 78 East Washington Street (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.)
  • Southeast Senior Center: 1767 East 79th Street
  • Southwest Senior Center: 6117 South Kedize Avenue
  • Satellite Senior Centers will be activated from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, August 23 and Thursday, August 24:

    • Pilsen - 2121 South Morgan
    • West Town - 1615 West Chicago Ave.
    • North Center - 4040 North Oakley
    • Norwood Park - 5801 North Natoma
    • Portage Park - 4100 North Long
    • Abbott Park - 49 East 95th St.
    • Chatham Park - 8300 South Cottage Grove
    • Roseland - 10426 South Michigan
    • Garfield Ridge - 5674-B South Archer
    • Kelvyn Park - 2715 North Cicero
    • Auburn Gresham - 1040 West 79th St.
    • Englewood - 653-657 West 63rd St.
    • Austin - 5071 West Congress Parkway
    • Edgewater - 5917 North Broadway
    • South Chicago - 9233 South Burley

    Chicago Public Libraries and Chicago Park District fieldhouses are also available to cool down in during their hours of operation.

    The Salvation Army's community centers will also be open as cooling centers on August 23 and 24. To find your local Salvation Army Community Center, go to and enter your zip code.

    Suburban cooling centers

    Cooling centers in the suburbs can be found at the following links:

  • Cook County
  • Kane County
  • Kendall County
  • Lake County (Illinois)
  • McHenry County
  • Will County
  • Kankakee County
  • Well-being checks

    Older adults, young children and Chicagoans with special needs are more vulnerable to heat related illness or other issues during extreme heat. Checking in on neighbors and relatives during excessive heat is recommended.

    If you are unable to make contact with neighbors or relatives, you can request a well-being check from the city by calling 311 or going to

    Chicago water playgrounds, splash pads, and public pools

    Water playgrounds, splash pads and public pools are available throughout the city of Chicago and are free to use.

    Dozens of Chicago Park District parks offer water spray features and splash pads, which will be on until September 30, 2023. Click here to find the water spray features and splash pad closest to you.

    Public pools in Washington Park, Humboldt Park and Portage Park are open through Labor Day, along with the city's 22 beaches:

    Humboldt Park Pool

    958 N. Sacramento Avenue


    Click here for schedule through Sept. 4

    Portage Pool

    4100 N. Long Avenue


    Click here for schedule through Sept. 4

    Washington Pool

    5531 S. King Drive


    Click here for schedule through Sept. 4

    There are more than a dozen water playgrounds throughout city in parks as well. Click here to find the water playground closest to you.

    Recognize the signs of heat related illness

    It is especially important to remain cool and hydrated when temperatures soar, or else you may develop a potentially deadly heat related illness.

    Heat rash is skin irritation caused by excessive sweating when it's hot out. If you develop heatrash, keep the rash area dry and use powder to help with comfort. Do not use ointments or creams.

    Heat exhaustion is a milder form of heat related illness and is a response to an excessive loss of water and salt, usually due to excessive sweating, according to the CDC. The elderly, people with high blood pressure and people working in a hot environment are more prone to heat exhaustion.

    Symptoms of heat exhaustion include headache, nausea, dizziness, irritability, weakness, thirst, heavy sweating, decreased urine output and elevated body temperature.

    To treat heat exhaustion, get out of the hot area, remove unnecessary clothing including shoes and socks, use cold water on the head, face and neck or cold compresses in the same areas to start lowering body temperature, and take frequent sips of cool water. People suffering from heat exhaustion may need to be taken to an emergency room or urgent care center for further treatment.

    Heat stroke the most serious heat related illness, according to the CDC, and occurs when the body can no longer control its own temperature. Body temperature rises rapidly, the sweating response fails and the body becomes unable to cool down. As a result, your internal temperature can climb to 106 degrees or higher within 10 to 15 minutes.

    Heat stroke can cause permanent disability or death if emergency treatment is not provided.

    Symptoms of heat stroke include confusion, altered mental state, slurred speech, loss of consciousness or coma, hot, dry skin or profuse sweating, seizures, and very high body temperature. It can be fatal if treatment is delayed.

    If someone is experiencing heat stroke, call 911 immediately and stay with that person until EMTs arrive. Move the person to a shaded, cool area and remove outer clothing. Also take steps to cool the person down with a cold water or ice bath if possible. You can also lay cold, wet cloth on any exposed skin, soak their clothing with cool water and generally keep them wet with cool water. Use fans to circulate air around the person to speed cooling, and place cold wet clothes or ice on the head, neck, armpits or groin to help lower body temperature.