Emergency Rooms Seeing Heat-Related Illnesses

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Knoxville (WVLT) - The pools and lakes were packed with people enjoying the first weekend of summer but local emergency departments were busy too, treating people who had a little too much fun in the sun.

Ambulance traffic is still steady Monday afternoon with highs in the mid 90's and the heat index even higher. Emergency responders say they know to be ready when the mercury rises.

But there are some things you can do to avoid finding yourself at the emergency department.

In extreme heat, stay indoors and if at all possible stay in an air-conditioned place.

Don't leave babies or children or pets in cars, not even for a short time. Heat can kill quickly.

Drink plenty of fluids but avoid drinks that contain alcohol or a lot of sugar. They can make you lose more body fluid. Avoid very cold drinks which can cause stomach cramps. If you are sweating a lot you may need to replace salt and minerals, a sports drink may help.

Choose lightweight light colored lose fitting clothing.

Limit your outdoor activity to morning and evening hours and if you must go outside wear sunscreen a hat and sunglasses.

Most importantly pace yourself, stop all activity if your heart pounds or you gasp for breath in the heat.

"Sometimes they put two and two together and realize they may have overdone it and its really a bad day. But for the most part people will usually prevent with muscle cramps or what we call a sinkable episode, basically they passed out,” says Jessica Fischer from UT Medical Center.

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