Southeast Health sees an increase in patients with heat illnesses amid recent triple-digit weather

The Wiregrass has been under a heatwave this week, and doctors have a message for you: be cautious and listen to your body.
Published: Aug. 24, 2023 at 9:33 PM CDT
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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - Southeast Health Medical Center reports an increase in emergency room patients coming in with heat-related illnesses.

The Wiregrass has been under a heatwave this week. Some areas reached the triple digits whereas others sat in the upper 90′s most days this week.

With this heatwave, health experts are asking people to be cautious and listen to their bodies if they feel any symptoms of heat exhaustion, heat cramps, or heat stroke.

Dr. Shayne Outlaw is an emergency physician at Southeast Health Medical Center. He said this has been a trend over the past few months.

Patients coming in are typically dehydrated making them feel light-headed or nauseous. He said some are coming in with symptoms of vomiting, headache, and even to the extreme of passing out.

These are all red flag symptoms for heat exhaustion, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health.

The elderly, children, and those with underlying health conditions are affected and seen the most frequently at Southeast Health, according to Dr. Outlaw.

This increase in heat-related illness cases does not surprise him. He said he wants to warn people of how quickly this can happen when outside in the summertime heat.

“We see it almost every year,” Dr. Outlaw said. “People just get outside and get busy, doing fun activities, working, exercising, and then the issues sneak up on them quickly.”

Dr. Outlaw said it is important to stay hydrated, stay in the shade, or take breaks in the AC when working or playing outside.

Seek medical attention if you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms.

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