How to stay safe amid a rise in heat-related illnesses

Kassandra Gutierrez Image
Tuesday, July 9, 2024 10:53PM
How to stay safe amid a rise in heat-related illnesses
As triple digits continue, hospitals and medical professionals across Tulare County have been caring for patients with heat-related illnesses.

TULARE COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- As the triple-digit heat wave continues, local hospitals and medical professionals across Tulare County have been busy caring for patients suffering from heat-related illnesses.

The Exeter District Ambulance says about 40% of their calls this past week have been related to people experiencing symptoms caused by the hot weather.

"The overall danger of the heat is that it can absolutely be a killer, and people need to treat it as seriously as any other emergency," explains Jeremy Thomas, a paramedic at Exeter District Ambulance.

Adventist Health Medical Office in Tulare has seen a similar uptick.

"We have seen patients with more strokes in the past month and kidney injuries because of the heat, " says Dr. Patrick Matian at Adventist Health Medical Clinic in Tulare.

He explains that heat only worsens pre-existing chronic diseases like diabetes, asthma and heart problems.

It can impact the healthiest of people, especially young children and the elderly population.

"We have a lot of elderly people here. It's very important for us to check in on them; make sure you check in on your grandparents, aunts, uncles, anyone who you think is at risk of becoming dehydrated," mentions Dr. Matian.

You also want to ensure pets are safe from the heat.

Hydration is essential. Drinking water, Pedialyte and Gatorade can help.

Especially those playing summer sports.

If you must work outdoors, take frequent breaks in a cool area.

"Try to not do as intensive work as you normally would because, again, intense sweating in the heat takes more fluid out of your body faster, too, and it's really hard to replace that in this heat right now," says Keri Noeske, Chief Registered Nurse at Kaweah Health in Visalia.

For students playing sports, even swimming and water polo, you want to pay attention to signs like dizziness, headache, nausea and confusion.

Doctors say if you see someone experiencing heat-related illness, you should call 911 immediately and do your best to cool them down.

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