Heat-related illnesses on the rise with scorching temperatures
BATON ROUGE - Doctors are seeing an influx of patients with heat-related illnesses as temperatures continue to swelter.
Dr. Matt Bumgardner is a family physician at the Baton Rouge Clinic's Urgent Care Center. He says a number of patients have suffered heat-related sickness this week.
"We get a patient in who feels very dizzy and lightheaded and clothes will soak with sweat, and we'll have to give an IV to rehydrate them," Bumgardner said. "Typically the sensation of thirst occurs after you are 10% dehydrated. If you didn't hydrate prior to going outside you can absolutely get dehydrated."
East Baton Rouge EMS says they have responded to four times as many calls as last year, after what was the second-hottest May on record.
"It's been extremely warm, and it's been extremely busy," EMS spokesperson Mike Chustz said.
Officials said they've responded to 40 heat-related injuries in East Baton Rouge Parish in May of this year, with 29 people being transported to a hospital. In May 2017, they only responded to nine heat-related injuries and transported five.
"With the humidity we have here it just feels so hot," Chustz said, "and it just takes a toll on your body. And I think a lot of people don't realize it, the way our bodies cool itself is by evaporating sweat off of the skin, so the humidity kind of slows that process down."
To prevent heat-related injuries, experts suggest limiting outdoor activities to early morning or late afternoon hours. If you're experiencing heat exhaustion before help arrives, EMS suggests you try and find a cooler location.