Heat illnesses, temperatures on the rise - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Heat illnesses, temperatures on the rise

August 9, 2007

Valdosta - The number of South Georgians visiting the Emergency Room for heat related-illnesses is rising with the temperatures.  "We've had probably two to three a day come in, especially in the last week with heat related illnesses," says Dr. Howard Jones, Chief of Emergency Medicine at South Georgia Medical Center.

And doctors are noticing a trend.  "We've had some come from VSU, Valdosta High School, athletes that are on the football field. And also we've had some people who are working outside," he adds.

To keep their 140 players cool, coaches at VSU encourage them to drink a lot of fluids and often. "They have unlimited water and poweraid during practice, we have electro light supplements that we utilize," says Russ Hoff, Director of Athletic Training.

And have a plan in place in case they overheat.  "We've got cool tanks, we administer IV fluids if necessary."

But they say splitting up their two-a-days is most important, allowing their players time to rest and recover.  "We'll have five hours before our next practice and we'll hold out guys that struggled this morning," Hoff says.

Doctors warn there still many dangers of being outside in the extreme heat both day and night and anyone venturing outdoors should take precautions.  "Limit your time outside, have a lot of fluid intake as you are working outside. You should wear loose clothing so your body can breathe," says Dr. Jones.

Ensuring a trip outside doesn't end with a trip to the ER.

Many Valdosta veterinarians say they've also seen an increase in pets being brought in for heat stroke and the same precautions we take should also be applied to our pets.

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