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Heat wave hits area

August 07, 2007|By ERIN JULIUS

TRI-STATE

An attending physician at Washington County Hospital said doctors there have been treating patients who get overheated and don't keep themselves hydrated in the hot weather.

Heat exhaustion and the more dangerous heat stroke pose a danger as temperatures rise, Dr. Thomas Gilbert said.

"The next couple of days are the real scorchers," AccuWeather.com meteorologist John Feerick said Tuesday afternoon.

Wednesday's high temperature could reach 95 degrees, but it will feel warmer, according to AccuWeather.com.

The heat index accounts for the temperature and humidity, and is often warmer than the actual temperature, Feerick said.

Doctors at Waynesboro and Chambersburg hospitals in Pennsylvania have not seen an increase in heat-related conditions, said Michael Reyka, vice president at Waynesboro Hospital.

"So far, people are doing the right thing, being careful," he said.

Doctors at City Hospital in Martinsburg, W.Va., haven't seen an increase in heat-related ailments either, although about a month ago the hospital treated workers who had been on rooftops and passed out in the heat, said Jodi Wilson, interim manager of the emergency department.

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Those suffering from heat exhaustion tend to feel dizzy and weak, and might be become agitated, Gilbert said. One patient at Washington County Hospital on Tuesday might have been suffering from heat stroke, which is severe and can lead to seizures or coma and multi-organ system failure, Gilbert said.

People should drink plenty of water, stay out of the sun as much as possible and avoid alcohol, which dehydrates the body, he said.

The Frederick County Department of Aging encouraged people to check in on elderly neighbors and family members during the heat wave, to limit physical activity and seek medical attention if people feel nauseous, dizzy, clammy or seem confused.

The elderly and young children are most at risk for heat-related illnesses, Wilson said.

The heat should break by Friday and temperatures will hover in the upper 80s by the weekend, Feerick said.

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