A local emergency doctor is gearing up for the coming heat wave. When the temperatures climb, they see a lot of heat-related illnesses in the Emergency Department at Mount Nittany Medical Center. The lucky ones walk in the door, those more severely affected are brought in by ambulance.
“What we worry about mostly are the very young and the very old. People in between mostly know enough to get out of the heat or how to start drinking fluids quickly enough,” said Dr. Jeffrey Elias, Mt. Nittany Medical Center Emergency Physician.
Dr. Elias said the bodies of the very old don’t regulate heat as well, and their ability to dissipate it can be affected by the medications they take. They may not realize they’re overheating until it’s too late.
Different physical characteristics place the youngest at high risk.
“Most of their surface area, particularly the younger one, is mostly in the top of their body, their heads, so if they’re covered, their heads are covered especially, they really going to have a hard time dissipating that heat and they may present with fast breathing, they may feel warm to the touch and dry,” explained Dr. Elias.
So Dr. Elias urges that we keep a closer watch on both age groups.
How can you be sure you’re doing okay in the heat? Dr Elias says if you’re drinking enough water that you’re feeling comfortable then you’re probably doing okay.