Precaution urged with high temps

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 22, 2014

With afternoon temperatures hitting the upper-90 to 100-degree marks this weekend, Andalusia Regional Hospital ER medical director Dr. Mark Griffin said there’s a good chance he’ll be treating dehydration and heat exhaustion.

“Any time temperatures are over 100, or even in the high 90s, you should pay attention,” he said. “That’s because what’s known as insensible loss occurs throughout the day.

“Just by breathing, you lose essentially two quarts of water a day,” he said. “When the temperatures hit 98 or 105, that doubles or triples quickly.”

The best thing to do to deal with the heat, he said, is to drink water.

“I said, ‘water.’ Not Gatorade, or Red Bull or sugar drinks or Coca-Cola. Water,” he said.

If persons notice they are not sweating, it is important that they immediately get in the shade and drink water, he said.

“Passing out means it’s gone really pretty far, and you’re into the heat exhaustion thing,” he said. “When the body temperature rises over 105 degrees internally, it does not do good things for the brain.”

Dizziness and light headiness are the first symptoms, Griffin said.

“Construction workers say you know then that the bear is coming to get you,” he said.

The local high on Thursday was 102 degrees, according to Weekend forecasts call for highs in the upper 90s, with a heat index range from 104 to 107 each day. Heat advisories are expected to be issued.

“Nobody is used to this kind of heat,” Griffin said. “If you must be outside, take frequent breaks, and try to be out in the early morning and late afternoon.”

He said most people who are treated in the emergency room are given IV fluids, and cooled down.

“For the most part, they are treated and sent home,” he said. “If they actually have a passing out spell, they are likely to be admitted at least over night.”

Last night, at the Opp at Luverne football game, officials took frequent time-outs for the heat, which included every six minutes of play and at the end of every quarter to ensure players had enough water.