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Dangerously high temperatures causing spikes in patients with heat-related illnesses

IU Health sees increase in patients with heat illness

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — IU Health says they’re already seeing more people seeking life-saving measures due to the high heat.

These high levels of heat will be making a big impact on many people, especially those who work outside that need to constantly look out for each other.

“The tough guy stuff goes all out the window. We don’t play that, and that’s part of the buddy system, too. If someone tells you, ‘Hey, you’re looking like you need to take a drink,’ we make sure that they do it,” Dan Livingston, the safety superintendent of Rieth-Riley Construction, said.

IU Health Urgent Care physician leader Dr. Steven Mahon says this dangerous heat wave has caused an increase in patients coming into urgent cares and hospitals due to heat exposure.

“IU Hospital system has seen an increased rate of heat exposure (and) heat exhaustion. Our urgent care sees more of the lighter cases, such as sunburn, headaches, cramping, and fatigue,” Mahon said.

Mahon says there are warning signs and symptoms of heat illness that you should look out for like muscle cramps and tiredness.

“When there’s an absence of sweating, any type of altered mental status, confusion, passing out, things that people are acting abnormal than they should be – those are times when we need to see hospital-level care,” Mahon said.

These are signs that crews say they look out for while working in the extreme heat.

“Obviously, sweating, profuse sweating or you stop sweating. Those are indications of heat-related illnesses. Heat exhaustion is probably the first that you start to encounter with leg cramps, other body cramps, and maybe you’re not walking so well,” Livingston said.

According to Mahon, older adults, and children are also disproportionately affected by high temperatures.

“Our younger population doesn’t have the ability to tell us when they’re experiencing these symptoms, so support from parents to keep an eye out for any changes and our (older population) are much more susceptible,” Mahon said.

Livingston says if you need to be outside, drink plenty of water, and find shade.