Health care providers warn of heat-related illness

Whitney Barnes pulls Hudson Healy, 3, and Dezzy Wilson, 3, through the splash pad on an inflatable alligator Wednesday at Indian Mounds Pool. Several people cooled off at the pool on Wednesday. The region is under an excessive heat warning through Saturday.
H-W Photo/Jake Shane
By Herald-Whig
Posted: Jul. 18, 2019 12:01 am Updated: Jul. 18, 2019 9:03 am

QUINCY -- Health care providers are encouraging people to be mindful of heat-related illness as the region remains under an excessive heat warning through Saturday with it feeling as hot as 110 degrees.

The Blessing Hospital Emergency Department has seen a jump of patients that are experiencing heat-related illness this week.

"We are seeing an uptick, especially from those who are working outside, even doing work around their home -- not necessarily being outside the entire day," said Deeanna Baird, a nurse practitioner in the Emergency Department. "It is affecting many people already, so the next few days are going to be pretty significant with trying to prevent these types of illnesses."

Temperatures are expected to hover near 100 degrees through Saturday and not dip below 90 degrees until Monday.

Baird said that young children and elderly are most affected by the heat.

Symptoms to watch for heat-related illnesses include dizziness, fatigue, headache, muscle or abdominal cramping, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, hot flushed dry skin, rapid heart rate or profound sweating.

"If someone notices someone they know experiencing confusion, if they have had a syncopal episode, complaining of a headache, those types of symptoms, one would need to seek medical attention," Baird said.

If medical treatment isn't sought, heat stroke is a possibility, which could lead to kidney failure.

To prevent heat-related illness, Baird said to increase water consumption and suggested Gatorade or similar drinks. However, she encourages people to avoid soft drinks and alcohol.

"It's important to increase fluids more than one would normally throughout the day," Baird said. "If a person is feeling thirsty, it's already a sign of dehydration."

Baird also suggested that those who need to work outdoors do so earlier in the morning or in the evening when it is cooler. Light-colored, loose clothing is encouraged.

Cooling centers have opened in several communities, including the Kroc Center in Quincy, the Illinois Department of Human Services office in Quincy, the Quincy Public Library, the Quincy Senior and Family Resource Center, Timber Point Healthcare in Camp Point and the YMCA facilities in Quincy, Mount Sterling and Barry. In Missouri, cooling centers are available at the Salvation Army in Hannibal, the Crossing in Hannibal and the Senior Citizens Community Center in Paris.

If there is a need for emergency housing, the Salvation Army Emergency Shelter in Quincy can be reached at 222-8655.

The Salvation Army also is seeking fans that can be distributed in Quincy and in Hannibal.

Donated fans can be dropped off at either Salvation Army Family Services Center in Quincy or Hannibal, or the Kroc Center in Quincy.

Monetary donations for the purchase of the fans can also be sent to the Salvation Army, P.O. Box 75, Quincy, IL 62306.

Fan distribution is prioritized for people 65 and older, those with children under 5 and those who are disabled. People wishing to apply for a fan should bring a photo ID to their local Salvation Army Family Services Center. Those with children under 5 in the household are required to bring a Social Security or medical card.