What’s going around: Heat-related illnesses

MADISON (WKOW) — The temperatures are going up this weekend, and that can cause some serious health problems for you and your loved ones.  

Two big problems that are common are heat exhaustion and heat stroke.  

Dr. Casey Ippen is an emergency medicine physician at SSM Health.  She said she is anticipating more people in her office with heat-related illnesses the next several days.  

Some of the serious symptoms of heat exhaustion include confusion, dizziness, fainting, fatigue, headache, muscle or abdominal cramps, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, pale skin, profuse sweating or a rapid heartbeat.  

If you think someone has heat exhaustion, Dr. Ippen said to get them out of the heat, have them rest and drink water.  She said you can also sit by a fan, use cool towels, remove any tight clothing and have them take a cool shower or bath.  

Dr. Ippen added, the first sign of heat stroke is a little more serious; fainting may be the first thing you notice.  Call 911 right away, or get the person to the emergency room.  If there is a lag in time, you can use some of the treatment methods from heat exhaustion, or try putting ice packs in the person’s armpits, groin, neck or back because there’s a lot of blood vessels close to the skin and that can help lower body temperature.  

Dr. Ippen also said, if you choose to stay cool by the water, remember that drowning doesn’t look like it does in the movies.  A person usually won’t be splashing around, but bobbing up and down, and they usually can’t stay above water for more than a minute, so get help right away.  

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