Doctors warn about dangers of extreme heat in forecast

Protect your body in extreme heat

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - With an Excessive Heat Warning across WAVE Country, local doctors are warning people to be careful in the hot, humid days.

Norton Audubon Hospital Emergency Medical Director Dr. Robert Couch said during the summer months, they typically see a few people a day come in with heat-related illnesses.

“We’ll see a variety of heat illnesses in the emergency department,” Couch said. “When it gets terribly hot, when the heat index rises to 100 degrees or higher, then we start to see some real emergencies,”

People come in with things like heat cramps, passing out from the heat, heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

Couch said heat stroke is a true medical emergency and should be treated quickly.

“The important thing when it’s so hot outside is to stay hydrated and to stay cool. Oftentimes people won’t recognize when they start to get hot,” Couch said. “So I encourage patients to drink water or a sports drink if they are feeling thirsty. You don’t want to overdo it. You don’t want to guzzle a large volume of water in a short period of time. That can lead to health problems in and of itself. Just be sensible and try to stay hydrated.”

When it’s humid and the heat index is above 100 degrees, Couch said human bodies don’t sweat as well.

“The important thing is to try to prevent having to come to the hospital in the first place,” Couch said. “We’re here to treat you if you need it, but if you can do some common sense things to stay at home, stay cool, stay hydrated -- you won’t need to come to the emergency department.”

He emphasized also checking on your neighbors, especially young children and older people.

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