Indianapolis Emergency Departments Continue To Treat Heat-Related Illnesses

Created on Thursday, 28 July 2011 14:54

Contact: Collette DuValle, 317-221-2463

Since July 18, the number of individuals seeking heat related treatment at Indianapolis hospital emergency departments is 117. The total includes 21 individuals treated from July 25 to July 27.

The age breakdown for heat related emergency department patients:

“Individuals with heat related symptoms of dehydration, hyperthermia and heat exhaustion are still coming to local emergency departments,” said Virginia A. Caine, M.D., director, Marion County Public Health Department. “We continue to emphasize that the heat poses a real and potentially life threatening impact on our health and we need to protect ourselves.”

Although there is no hard data to clearly identify why the 18-64 year old age group has produced the most heat related patients, there are potential contributing factors. Adults are more likely to ignore signs of heat related health problems. This may come from a belief that heat illness mainly affects older and younger people, so they don’t think about themselves. Also, this is the ‘working age’ category, so there is the likelihood some of these patients are exposed to the excessive heat while working.

Health officials recommend limiting exposure to direct sun and excessive heat, taking frequent breaks in a cooled environment, drinking plenty of water, avoiding consumption of alcoholic beverages and being aware of the signs of heat illness. Pets also are susceptible to heat exposure and should have appropriate shelter and access to food and water.

The health department has extended operation of its 221-2415 call center through Friday, July 29 to take non-emergency heat related questions. Since opening July 19, the call center has taken more than 250 calls.