How to Stay Cool in Extreme Heat Without Power

By Rachel Martin

July 3, 2012 Updated Jul 3, 2012 at 5:27 PM EST

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) -- With the excessive heat warning in place for the rest of the week, and thousands of people still without power Tuesday, doctors say there's a risk for heat-related illness.

Indiana’s NewsCenter spoke with Dr. Christian Bridgwater, an Emergency Physician at Parkview Regional Medical Center. He shared tips on how to avoid the heat and stay out of the hospital.

Dr. Bridgwater says no electricity is needed to drink water. He says that’s the best way to prevent a heat-related illness, along with sports drinks and juice. However, Dr. Bridgwater says people should avoid alcoholic and caffeinated beverages because they cause dehydration.

According to the doctor, the average person should drink eight 8 oz. glasses of water a day, but in order to beat the heat, he advises drinking a lot more fluids than usual and find a cool, shaded area to stay. If you have no power, Bridgwater says stay with a friend or neighbor, check into a hotel, and stay in a cooling center during the heat of the day.

Bridgwater says excessive heat, like what’s expected the rest of the week, can cause dehydration, which can lead to heat exhaustion and even worse—heat stroke. He says that can have damaging effects on the brain and respiratory system.

Since the severe storm on Friday, Dr. Bridgwater says many people have been treated at the ER, specifically for breathing and respiratory problems, but fortunately no one has been admitted to the hospital because of the weather.

The elderly are particularly susceptible to the heat, especially if they have a medical condition. He says most of the patients that came to the ER over the weekend were elderly people who could no longer power their nebulizers and oxygen tanks, as well as those who ran out of medications. Bridgwaters says in disaster situations, it’s important to check on elderly neighbors and family members daily.

Sure signs of heat exhaustion are feeling more tired and thirsty than usual, and having a dry mouth and muscle cramps. Bridgwater says if facing these symptoms, find a cool place and hydrate. If symptoms worsen, report to a hospital.




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