Texarkana, TX 75° Tue H 84° L 60° Wed H 84° L 62° Thu H 84° L 62° Weather Sponsored By:

Heat illness possible as temperatures and humidity rise

Heat illness possible as temperatures and humidity rise

June 24th, 2019 by Ashley Gardner in Texarkana News

Summer is here and with it a rising potential for people in the area to be affected by heat-related illnesses ranging from heat cramps to heat stroke.

"With humidity being nearly 100 percent and the temperature in the mid-80s, it puts us close to 105 degree heat index," said Dr. Matt Young, emergency room physician and medical director/physician owner of Texarkana Emergency Center. "It's difficult for the population to acclimate when the heat comes on quickly. When it comes on that sudden it makes all of us, those who are healthy and those with medical conditions, more susceptible to heat-related illness."

Heat cramps are the mildest form heat-related illness. Symptoms include flushed, moist skin, cramping and spasms after intense exercise.

"That doesn't necessarily mean running a marathon. It could happen after someone mows their yard or works in their garden if they're not used to it," Young said.

The next stage is heat exhaustion. People experiencing this condition will have muscle cramps, pale, moist skin, nausea or vomiting, fatigue and weakness.

For both heat cramps and heat exhaustion, the treatment is the same.

"The best thing is to stop the activity. Move to a cool place to rest. Try to remove excess clothes and drink a sports drink or water and try to rest those muscles. If after a certain amount of time, an hour or so, they haven't improved, they might need to go to the emergency room to get IV fluids and get their electrolytes checked. Most of the time heat exhaustion can be managed outside the hospital but occasionally people need to go in for treatment," he said.

Heat stroke is the most serious condition caused by heat.

"The difference between heat stroke and the other conditions is it causes neurological symptoms like a regular stroke. Symptoms include warm dry skin, a high fever over 104 Fahrenheit, rapid heart rate, nausea and vomiting, headache, fatigue. Then comes on the stroke part. They may have confusion, agitation or be extremely lethargic. The confusion can continue into seizures, coma and unfortunately possibly death," Young said.

Heat stroke is a medical emergency.

"Treatment of that is to stop activity. Move the person to a cool place and call 9-1-1 or get them to a local emergency department. Many times, if it's true heat stroke they're calling 9-1-1 because the person has passed out. It's a true health emergency. You may remove clothes and place ice bags around their body. They may not be able to tolerate oral intake of fluids. Unfortunately, our area sees one or two of these a year that can be deadly. In the past 20 years, we have seen deaths unfortunately secondary to heat strokes."

Prevention is key.

"Prevention is the message we want to emphasize.

Keys to preventing heat illness include making sure to hydrate well with water or sports drinks before outdoor activity, especially on hot days and avoid alcohol and caffeine which can cause dehydration.

"Try to avoid direct sunlight in the heat of the day during your activity," he said. "It's always wise to get up early in the morning or go out later in the evening to do activities. Wear light-colored, light-weight, loose-fitted clothing and take frequent breaks. Don't push yourself when you start feeling thirsty or light-headed."

Getting Started/Comments Policy

Getting started

  1. 1. If you frequently comment on news websites then you may already have a Disqus account. If so, click the "Login" button at the top right of the comment widget and choose whether you'd rather log in with Facebook, Twitter, Google, or a Disqus account.
  2. 2. If you've forgotten your password, Disqus will email you a link that will allow you to create a new one. Easy!
  3. 3. If you're not a member yet, Disqus will go ahead and register you. It's seamless and takes about 10 seconds.
  4. 4. To register, either go through the login process or just click in the box that says "join the discussion," type your comment, and either choose a social media platform to log you in or create a Disqus account with your email address.
  5. 5. If you use Twitter, Facebook or Google to log in, you will need to stay logged into that platform in order to comment. If you create a Disqus account instead, you'll need to remember your Disqus password. Either way, you can change your display name if you'd rather not show off your real name.
  6. 6. Don't be a huge jerk or do anything illegal, and you'll be fine.

Texarkana Gazette Comments Policy

The Texarkana Gazette web sites include interactive areas in which users can express opinions and share ideas and information. We cannot and do not monitor all of the material submitted to the website. Additionally, we do not control, and are not responsible for, content submitted by users. By using the web sites, you may be exposed to content that you may find offensive, indecent, inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise objectionable. You agree that you must evaluate, and bear all risks associated with, the use of the Gazette web sites and any content on the Gazette web sites, including, but not limited to, whether you should rely on such content. Notwithstanding the foregoing, you acknowledge that we shall have the right (but not the obligation) to review any content that you have submitted to the Gazette, and to reject, delete, disable, or remove any content that we determine, in our sole discretion, (a) does not comply with the terms and conditions of this agreement; (b) might violate any law, infringe upon the rights of third parties, or subject us to liability for any reason; or (c) might adversely affect our public image, reputation or goodwill. Moreover, we reserve the right to reject, delete, disable, or remove any content at any time, for the reasons set forth above, for any other reason, or for no reason. If you believe that any content on any of the Gazette web sites infringes upon any copyrights that you own, please contact us pursuant to the procedures outlined in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (Title 17 U.S.C. § 512) at the following address:

Copyright Agent
The Texarkana Gazette
15 Pine Street
Texarkana, TX 75501
Phone: 903-794-3311
Email: webeditor@texarkanagazette.com