Doctors see spike in heat-related illnesses - 8 News NOW

Doctors see spike in heat-related illnesses

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LAS VEGAS - For the second straight day, the valley is under an excessive heat warning. Temperatures are expected to rise above 110 degrees, posing a health risk to many valley residents.

Emergency rooms have already seen a rise in patients as a result of the heat. Doctors say they are treating patients for heat-related illnesses everyday. Most of the patients are children and older people who are being treated for dehydration and heat exhaustion.

They aren't, however, the only ones suffering from the heat.

“Other people who have comorbid conditions, where there are multiple medications, diuretics, which can cause a patient to lose a lot of fluids," said Dr. Devon Moore with University Medical Center’s Trauma Center.

Dr. Moore says he is also seeing several cases involving sunburns and rashes. He says a number of people are spending too much time in the sun. He advises using sunscreen and staying in the shade to avoid an emergency room visit.

Staying hydrated is equally important. Water is the best way to stay hydrated and keep your body cool, but there are other options.

Doctors say fresh fruits and vegetables are great sources of fluid. Watermelon, cucumbers, celery and lettuce will help hydrate your body.

Foods that are fried, baked or salty can dehydrate the body. Dr. Kimball Huang with Healthcare Partners says these types of foods will rob your body of fluids and make you thirsty.

Dr. Huang also warns people about alcohol consumption, especially during this week’s Independence Day holiday.

”Keep in mind that alcohol is actually a diuretic agent. It means it actually makes you lose fluid more than gain fluid. So, you're actually aggravating dehydration rather than maintain being hydrated," Dr. Huang said.

He says some of the more visible signs of dehydration include chapped lips and dry mouth.

If you don't rehydrate yourself, your body can suffer from heat exhaustion. Symptoms include: headache, weakness and dizziness.

The most dangerous stage of a heat-related illness is a heat stroke. That occurs when the body is no longer able to cool itself down. Heat stroke can cause a person to lose consciousness and slip into a coma.

If you've been out in the sun and feel hot, medical experts say the easiest way to cool down is to drink water and go into an air conditioned room.

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