Tips For Beating the Heat

(WVLT) - East Tennessee emergency room workers treated a number of patients for heat-related illnesses. In fact, the UT Medical Center treated two people within minutes of each other late Thursday afternoon.

The "Sundown in the City" concert began before sunset, and with temperatures in the low 90's...put thousands of people at risk for heat injuries.

"They feel crampy, they feel achy," Dr. Kip Wenger says.

The medical director of the emergency department at UT says these warning signs are often heat illness symptoms that need immediate treatment.

"They get confused, your body's ability to shed heat shuts down, and then all the sudden you begin to accumulate heat at a real rapid rate. and the next thing you know, you have mental status changes," Dr. Wenger says.

Concert-goers took precautions...some shielded their heads from the sun, while others sought shade.

"Just wearing light clothes, we've got an umbrella, nice cold drinks," Leila Parang says.

"You've got to stay hydrated out in this heat," Andrew Jurbergs.

Preventative steps include drinking plenty of water and sports fluids. But, avoid alcohol and caffeine since they act to deplete fluids. And avoid heavy exertion, especially working out in the heat if you aren't accustomed to it.

"Heat can be very damaging to all the organs of the body, the liver and the blood system. These patients develop things like coagulophthy where their blood doesn't clot, their liver fails and it can be very very dangerous and even deadly," Dr. Wenger says.

Medical authorities caution us to be aware of the symptoms, and get treatment as soon as possible.

Those following heat safety tips, can then enjoy the music.

"It's been nice, the heat's hot, but we'll make it," Parang says.

Medical authorities warn that heat illnesses can be especially dangerous for the very young and the very old...often they may become heat victims without realizing the warning symptoms, which include cramps and aches.

They say, keep an eye on them as temperatures continue to climb.

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