ER Doctor warns against heat illness as temps increase

Medical professionals are warning about the dangers of heatstroke as summer temperatures are increasing.

Though Duluth doesn’t always see the same blazing temperatures as other parts of the country, heat illnesses still threaten those who are unprepared.

“Often times we don’t think about heat exhaustion or heatstroke here in the north end because we rarely get the temperatures that they do down south. But heat exhaustion and heatstroke can occur at even more milder temperatures like what we’re going to be getting.” Said Dr. Chris Delp, an emergency physician at Aspirus St. Lukes.

Delp described heat illness as a “spectrum”.

It starts with heat exhaustion, which can be caused by exposure to high temperatures, especially when coupled high humidity. Symptoms include excessive sweating, dizziness, and nausea. Fortunately, Delp says this can typically be treated at home. Those dealing with heat exhaustion should move out of the sun, preferably into an air-conditioned building. Proper hydration is critical as well.

However, if not properly treated, heat exhaustion can lead to heatstroke. Delp explains that this is simply a matter of the body not being able to cool itself.

“You stop sweating. Your temperature usually rises to 104 or higher. And that is truly a critical life-threatening emergency.” Delp explained, adding that if someone is experiencing these symptoms, they should call 911 immediately to receive proper treatment.

Delp also advised that proper sunscreen usage as particularly important during the summer. He noted that he’d seen cases of sunburn severe enough to land patients in the emergency room.