Philadelphia hospitals seeing more heat-related visits

Doctor: ‘By the time you're thirsty, you're probably already a little bit dehydrated.’

Kim Glovas
July 02, 2018 - 1:36 pm
drinking water in hot summer

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The number of visits to regional emergency rooms is on the rise as the heat wave continues. 

The effects of heat stroke can come up quickly, and doctors at regional emergency rooms are seeing more than their fair share of people who have been out in the heat too long.

RELATED: Philadelphia declares heat health emergency, offers tips to escape high temps

Dr. Ernest Leber is with Hahnemann University Hospital is on the front lines.

"We definitely are seeing increased numbers of patients coming in, especially during the hottest times of the day," Leber said. "Kind of the mid-afternoon times, and then especially people who are outside or exposed to the heat in some way."

And he says many people may not recognize the symptoms.

"By the time you're thirsty, you're probably already a little bit dehydrated. And then you can start having some headache. Muscle cramping is also very common," he said. "If you're getting to the point where you are dizzy or light-heated or having symptoms like you might pass out, then you really need to get out of the heat."

Leber says most patients who are dehydrated just need a lot of fluids, like water and Gatorade or anything with electrolytes in it. But if the symptoms are worse, an IV might be necessary to deliver some fluids, like a sodium salt solution.

Dr. Leber also reminds people to check in on elderly neighbors and family members, to make sure they are staying cool and drinking enough fluids.