Doctors at The University of Kansas Hospital are warning area residents to take current health warnings seriously. In the last week, the hospital’s emergency department has averaged 2-5 patients a day coming in for heat-related treatment. But in every case, the patients have had other medical problems, made worse by the heat. Most are treated and released.
“Heat and humidity this high frustrates the body’s natural ways to cool itself. The elderly, the very young and those with health conditions are usually the first the feel the consequences of a heat wave, but this prolonged forecast for high heat and humidity can have an impact on the healthiest people if there is long term exposure to the heat,” says Lee Norman, MD, chief medical officer of The University of Kansas Hospital.
In the video, Dr. Norman says hydration is critical for anyone out in the heat even for a brief while. He says sports drinks which provide electrolytes are preferred but water is also an important option. He urges people to avoid alcohol, drinks with caffeine and drinks with carbonation. Dr. Norman says a key is to pay attention to urination. If you are not urinating or if it is a dark color, you need to concentrate on hydration. “Head to the hospital if you are not urinating, are becoming confused or disoriented. If you’re exhibiting the early signs, get hydrated. If you are home and not in air conditioning, take cool baths or dab yourself with a wet towel in front of a fan,” warns Dr. Norman.