WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – As southeastern North Carolina feels the rising temperatures of the country’s latest heat wave, doctors are noticing a rise in hospital visits for heat-related illnesses.
Dr. Ryan Jordanhazy is the Medical Director of the Emergency Department at Novant Health Brunswick Medical Center. He says there are a few factors that could contribute to the rise in cases.
“It does feel like this year we’re getting more than the years past,” Jordanhazy said. “Maybe because of COVID in the past few years kind of kept some people at home and less people outside in the heat. But, like you said, as these heat indexes rise every summer to the triple digits consistently, we start seeing a lot of heat related illness which is everything from heat exhaustion all the way through heat stroke.”
Another trend Jordanhazy has noticed in the emergency room this year is more severe cases of heat-related illness.
“I do feel like I’ve had to admit more than usual,” Jordanhazy said. “I’ve had some people take a few days in the hospital to sort of reverse their heat illness, which is not something I remember too often from years past.”
Jordanhazy says the key to staying healthy is to stay prepared. He encourages you to stay hydrated and know that higher temperatures can cause dehydration symptoms to develop quickly.
He also says if you start experiencing symptoms of heat exhaustion or heat stroke, you should head to an emergency room as opposed to an urgent care facility.
“Often times if you have any sort of abnormality in your vital signs or if they are concerned about any sort of serious heat related illness, more likely than not they’ll end up sending you to the ER anyway,” said Jordanhazy. “So, the ER is probably the best place if you’re fearing you have any sort of serious heat related illness.”
Heat Exhaustion Symptoms
- Heavy sweating
- Cold, pale, clammy skin
- Nausea or vomiting
- Fast, weak pulse
- Excessive thirst
Heat Stroke Symptoms
- May lose consciousness
- No sweating
- Hot, red skin
- Nausea or vomiting
- Body temperature above 140 degrees Fahrenheit
Copyright 2022 WECT. All rights reserved.