PETERSBURG (WRIC) — Ninety people in Virginia sought out medical care Wednesday for heat-related illness, according to data from the Virginia Department of Health (VDH). Numbers show a substantial increase in visits from the day before when 58 people sought medical attention.
Of the 90 people from Wednesday who stopped in for medical care, either at a hospital emergency department (EDs), free-standing EDs or an urgent care center (UCCs), only 12% were admitted. Two types of heat-related illnesses include heat stroke and heat exhaustion.
Dr. Clarence Clarke from Southside Regional Medical Center says you put yourself at risk for developing these illnesses by being outside for even an hour.
“When there’s a heatwave, sometimes you can see anywhere from 5 to 10 patients coming into the emergency department with heat-related illnesses,” Dr. Clarke said.
When you notice someone getting sick in the heat, Dr. Clarke says it’s important to get them in a cool area with air conditioning or fans and to get them to start drinking water. If they start to develop signs of heatstroke, call 911. You may notice that person beginning to act confused, that’s a sign to take seriously.
“Once your body gets to a certain level, you’ll start to see different organs start to fail,” he added, “particularly liver and kidneys.”
SYMPTOMS OF HEAT STROKE:
– High body temperature, reaching 104 degrees Fahrenheit
– Confusion and loss of coordination
– Hot, dry skin
– Stopping sweating
– Rapid heartbeat
– Throbbing headache
SYMPTOMS OF HEAT EXHAUSTION:
– Slightly elevated body temperature
– Rapid heartbeat
– Heavy sweating
– Clammy skin
– Extreme weakness or fatigue
– Nausea, vomiting
– Fast, shallow breathing
Men accounted for nearly 75% of all heat-related visits on Wednesday, and patients from ages 40 to 59 made 40% of the visits.
VDH shared a map showing the 12 health districts that reported elevated levels, compared to baseline levels, for heat-related visits on July 17. The districts include local areas, Chesterfield and Richmond City, and others across Virginia: Crater, Eastern Shore, Fairfax, Lord Fairfax, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Prince William, Rappahannock, Thomas Jefferson, Virginia Beach.