Doctor warns about danger of heat stroke

This heat poses a risk not just for the elderly and young children but anyone who doesn't have access to cool air
Published: Jun. 20, 2022 at 3:52 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 20, 2022 at 5:24 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - With the heat index hovering near 100 degrees Monday, and expected to be even hotter on Tuesday, this is a dangerous time for people to spend too much time outside -- or indoors without cooling or enough ventilation. The First Alert Weather team says temperatures in the 90s, combined with dew points in the 60s and even 70s, will make it feel like triple digits outside.

Experts say summer heat kills more people each year than floods, lightning, tornadoes and hurricanes.

Some people just can’t avoid the outdoors because of work or chores. This brief heat wave follows a major storm that left a ton of debris that still litters Green Bay. While some may want to rush to clear it, this may not be the best time because of the heat.

During these times, people wind up in the emergency room with heat-related illnesses.

“If you have the ability to do some outdoor projects before the heat hits its maximum -- so early in the morning or late at night -- that’s another good strategy for avoiding the worst of the heat,” Dr. Kyle McCarty said.

We spoke with the medical director of the emergency department at HSHS St. Vincent Hospital in Green Bay who says sunstroke, heat cramps and heat exhaustion are possible when you spend too much time in the heat.

“It’s going to be very important to stay up on your hydration. Drink water early. If it’s really hot and you’re getting really sweat, sports drinks are actually better for you at that point. If you’re losing electrolytes in your sweat, you do want to replace them. It is possible to drive your electrolytes too low if all you’re drinking is water,” McCarty advised.

Dr. McCarty also suggested using an umbrella, hose yourself off to allow the evaporation to cool you, and step in front of an air-conditioner.

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Drink water or sports drinks to stay hydrated. Start early, drink often.

Symptoms of heat cramps include spasms, typically in the legs or abdomen.

Heat exhaustion leads to heavy sweating, skin that’s cold, pale and clammy, weakness, a thready pulse and possibly vomiting or fainting. The body temperature may be normal.

Sunstroke is evidenced by hot, dry skin, a rapid and strong pulse, a high body temperature and, possibly, loss of consciousness. This is a medical emergency that needs immediate assistance.

“When you initially experience heat exhaustion, the first things you’ll experience are some muscle cramping, some sweating, some rapid heart rate and increased thirst. As you progress to heat stroke, that’s when you’re going to start to have confusion, you stop sweating and some people pass out at that point,” McCarty said.

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A doctor describes some of the symptoms of heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke which is a medical emergency

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