Doctors notice increase in patients with heat related injuries

Local News

It doesn’t have to be triple-digit temperatures to suffer from heat-related illnesses. 

Here on Oahu, doctors have already seen an increase in people being taken to the hospital with heat injuries and dehydration. 

The official start to summer is just around the corner. 

“We’ve noticed that this has kind of been an unseasonably warm May and June, so we are seeing increasing volumes of people who are being brought in dehydrated and with acute heat injuries,” said Dr. Kyle Perry, emergency medicine doctor at Queen’s Medical Center. 

Dr. Perry said the most severe is heat stroke, where symptoms can affect your brain function.

“Anywhere from confusion, to even the worst case, people can even have seizures from this,” he said.
Dr. Perry said the best thing you can do is stay hydrated. 

“If your thirst is telling you to drink more water make sure you’re monitoring your water intake and always take some cool water with you where you go,” he said. 

He also recommends avoiding the sun between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. when the sun is hottest. 

But for people who work outside, he recommends drinking eight glasses of water a day or more. 

“We worry about the people who can’t directly control their thirst such as the very young, the very old, but of course anyone is susceptible to heat injuries,” he said. 

The Hawaii Department of Health said 137 people were diagnosed with heat injuries during a nine-month period in 2017, of those treated, only 15% were 65 years and older.

And while many people will hit the beach to beat the heat it’s good to bring lots of cold water with you, apply and re-apply reef safe sunscreen as sunburn can dehydrate your body, and if you’re going to a beach with little shade, bring a tent with you. 

Those tips also apply to people who like to exercise outdoors. 

“We brought two bottles of water, and we had some of our hydration products from our company, and we actually brought two bottles of regular plain water as well,” said Annie Call, who hiked Koko Head with her husband on Sunday. 

The couple said they saw several people resting off to the side of the trail. They said they even took a couple of breaks to bring their heart rate down.

“Just pace yourself and take it easy, hydrate, and if you start to feel like it’s too much just stop,” she recommended. 

The first signs to be on the lookout for heat exhaustion are excessive thirst, excessive sweating, a fast heart rate, feeling faint or dizzy. 

Another easy way to tell if your dehydrated is checking the color of your urine, a dark color will tell you-you’re dehydrated.

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