Heat Related Emergency Department Visits Top 60

Created on Friday, 22 July 2011 15:02

Contact: Collette DuValle, 317-221-2463

At least 60 individuals have sought heat-related medical care from Indianapolis hospitals during the first four days of this week, more than doubling the number of heat related emergency department patients typically seen in the summer. The Monday-Thursday total of 58 is more than double the average of 24 heat related illness patients Indianapolis emergency departments typically see during the summer. So far today, there have been two heat related emergency department visits reported to the Marion County Public Health Department.

Thursday, 26 individuals with heat related illness were seen in Indianapolis hospital emergency departments. This compares with 17 patients seen Wednesday, 10 patients reported on Tuesday and 5 patients seen Monday. Indianapolis area hospitals typically see an average of 6 patients per day with heat related illness.

The majority of those being seen this week are in the 18-64 age bracket (26), followed by the 15-17 age range (16), the 65 and older range (11) and those 4 years of age and younger (5).

“This data serves to remind us of the real risk posed by exposure to extreme heat like we are experiencing this week. We must take the heat seriously and respond accordingly by limiting our exposure to the heat, direct sun and reducing our level of strenuous activity, especially when we are outdoors,” said Virginia A. Caine, M.D., director, Marion County Public Health Department.

Symptoms being reported include heat, dehydration, hyperthermia and heat exhaustion

No heat related deaths have been reported this week.

Health officials recommend local residents drink plenty of water, have access to a cool location, be aware of the signs of heat illness and ensure pets have appropriate shelter, water and food.

Indianapolis has cooling centers available and Indy Parks facilities open for those needing a cool place to stay during the day and evening. Spray parks and aquatic centers are also open as cooling resources. The Marion County Public Health Department has a call center open for non-emergency heat related questions and concerns. The 221-2415 call center is available from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. After hours messages will be answered the next day.

The call center has information on heat illness, addresses and hours of operation for local cooling stations, Indy Parks information and can offer information on other heat related issues.