Medical experts warn of the dangers of heat stroke and heat-related illnesses

6-16 HEAT SIGNS.png
6-16 HEAT SIGNS.png
Posted at 5:30 PM, Jun 16, 2022

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX18) — Higher temps mean more risk of heat-related illness -- some with long-lasting effects. Temperatures have reached the 90's this week. As it warms up, people are outside looking for ways to beat the heat. Doctors with CHI Saint Joseph warn of the signs of heat-related illnesses including heat stroke.

Dr. Mark Sloan, CHI Saint Joseph’s Emergency Department Medical Director, says, "We've seen a few patients come in with heat-related illness, heat exhaustion, dehydration. We haven't seen a large increase, thankfully -- so hopefully, that means that most people are being safe out there."

Warning signs of heat stroke include a high body temperature, confusion, lethargy, and extreme fatigue. If someone is having these signs doctors say to call 911. While waiting, you can use ice or cool water to help lower the person’s temp.

Dr. Sloan explains, "That high body temperature does actually start to damage the nerves in the brain and so, that's why they call it a heat stroke. It's not the same as an ischemic stroke, which is blood flow related, but you do see stroke-like or neurologic-like injury to the brain."

As things continue to heat up this summer, Sherri Hannan, a registered nurse with the Kentucky Children’s Hospital and a coordinator with Safe Kids Fayette County, says that rising temperatures are impacting not only adults but kids as well.

Hannan says, "If kids are starting to get red-faced, they're not sweating, their pulse is rapid and strong, they've complained of a headache -- those are very serious medical conditions, and it starts with heat exhaustion and it progresses to heat stroke."

Hannan says younger children -- kids under four and infants -- bodies don't adapt to heat as well as adults’ bodies do. She knows that as it warms up it's tough to stay inside, but, she says, "It's just being smart when you're choosing to be outside. Making sure that you are knowledgeable about, you know, what is the temperature? What are those heat indexes? So, and just having a caregiver that is implementing all of those safe practices when kids are around."

Doctors say the best ways to beat the heat are limiting heat exposure, protecting yourself, and staying hydrated.