Don't Be A Victim Of The Heat

Reporter: Shannon Samson

Web Producer: Jason Bailey

The American College of Emergency Physicians says even with prompt medical care, 15-percent of heat stroke cases are fatal.
Preventative measures are even more necessary.
Lee Turpen of American Medical Response says, "There were a lot of respiratory runs, cardiac runs and there were a few that were easily identifiable as heat-related."
Neil Troost, M.D. Emergency Medicine says, "There's been a few unfortunate cases of elderly people who sat in a car and the heat caught up with them."
Emergency physicians see the serious cases of heat-related illnesses: sunburn, heat cramps, heat rash and the most dangerous: heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

It's the very young and the very old who are most at risk and they can have a wide range of symptoms: heavy sweating, muscle cramps, fatigue, weakness, paleness, cold or clammy skin, dizziness, headache, nausea or vomiting, fainting.

Troost says, "Always worry about someone who starts to get beet red, someone who stops sweating is actually in more danger than someone who is sweating. That may mean their body has stopped being able to accommodate the heat or deal with the heat."
He's seen patients come into the emergency room with body temperatures as high as 107-degrees.
It's his job to bring them back down to 98.6, which is a more delicate process than it sounds.
"You don't want to cool them so fast they start to shiver. Now, you have another mechanism now within the body that is generating heat and we don't want that," says Troost.
Patients have a better chance if the rapid cooling process starts sooner, even before the ambulance arrives.
"You can move them into an area where there is shade, loosen or take off clothing, get some type of cold to the person or even some type of fluid, if they can drink it, that is not necessarily even cold. It's still fluid replacement," says Turpen.
Remember nothing replaces calling '911' as soon as possible.

Seniors taking some types of medication are especially vulnerable in the heat. They include beta blockers, antihistamines and diuretics, which make their bodies lose the fluid they need to stay hydrated in extreme temperatures.

Doctor Troost urges people to check on seniors living alone.
He says if they have air conditioning, make sure they're using it and not trying to save money.

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