ST. GEORGE – With temperatures hitting triple digits for much of the
week, doctors are warning about the risks of heat exhaustion.
According to a recent University of Montana study, heat stroke causes
nearly 1,000 deaths every year, and doctors said with foresight and
care those deaths can be preventable.
Emergency Room Doctor Robert Foster of Intermountain Healthcare said heat exhaustion is hard on the body.
“It just shuts down everything,” he said. “It can shut down your
brain. It can shut down your kidneys. In older people it can cause heart
attacks. It can cause strokes. In babies it can cause heat stroke. So,
it is very deadly. I think we just kind of forget.”
The death of a Las Vegas Boy Scout leader over the weekend due to
heat exhaustion shows how quickly it can happen. Scout leader Clawson
Bowman Junior, 69, and five scouts were hiking in 110-degree weather
near the Nevada-Arizona border. The scouts were in the White Rock Canyon
Area when they began to suffer from the heat and called 911. The scouts
were treated for heat exhaustion.
The University of Montana study also unearthed a misconception
regarding heat stroke. Surveys found most people think staying hydrated
will do the trick, but Foster said it’s more than that.
“That’s always good, drinking a lot of water, but you’ve got to get
out of the heat. You’ve got to get yourself cool,” Foster said.
Clinton mom Tina Simonson found that out first hand. She said her
sons battled heat stroke recently and now they’re keenly aware of the
many effects extreme heat can have.
“A week ago we went swimming at a neighbor’s house, and the kids got
really sick the day after,” Simonson said. “So they’re more than willing
to drink the water and take the bathroom breaks because they know what
Major warning signs include muscle aches, headache, nausea, dizziness
and weakness. Foster said the best thing to do is get indoors and cool
down. But he said if symptoms are intense, get to the hospital.
Foster said that in times of extreme heat, it’s also important to
wear sun screen, hats and appropriate clothing to avoid other injuries
that can happen during sunny, hot days.