Dr Christian Molstrom Says If You Have Symptoms Of Heat Stroke Call 911 Immediately
PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Portland could see triple-digit temperatures for several consecutive days starting on Saturday and local emergency care clinics are bracing for illnesses that could result from the heat.
“The temperature predictions of 105, 106, 107, 108 degrees this weekend are terrifying, quite frankly, for me,” said Dr Christian Molstrom, medical director of Legacy-GoHealth Emergency Care.
He said now was the time to start preparing for the heat. People should have somewhere to stay cool, have plenty of moisturizing fluids on hand, and do weekend plans that don’t involve a lot of effort.
Molstrom said there are about five different types of heat-related illnesses that people should watch out for: sunburn, rash, cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke.
While things like sunburns, rashes, and cramps aren’t usually too severe, Molstrom said he’s quite concerned about heat exhaustion and heatstroke.
“Heat exhaustion is a general sickness feeling and so you might have those muscle cramps we just talked about,” he said. “You may even feel like throwing up, having a headache, passing out, or wanting to pass out are all signs. ”
For anyone with these symptoms, Molstrom recommends going to an emergency clinic so that medical staff can check vital signs and make sure nothing more serious.
He said if someone starts to experience neurological symptoms, things like confusion, disorientation or a feeling of intoxication, from the heat, they should call 911 immediately. Heat stroke is a medical emergency from which people can die.
In addition to paying attention to the heat index, drinking plenty of water, and avoiding strenuous activity, Molstrom also recommends that people take the time to check drug side effects. He said certain drugs, like pseudoephedrine and dextromethorphan, can cause symptoms that mimic heat exhaustion.
He also warned that antidepressants and antipsychotic drugs can cause body temperature to rise, which could make hot weather even more dangerous for some people.
“This is just the time to pause and ask yourself, ‘Boy, you know I’m taking three drugs for, you know I’ve got depression medicine and I’m cough medicine, my. boy, maybe i should check with my doctor and make sure all is well with me, ”Molstrom said.
He reminded people that street drugs like methamphetamine and cocaine are especially dangerous in hot weather because they increase the body’s metabolism.
Molstrom also said that as tempting as “opening a cold glass” can be on a hot day, people really need to be careful with their drinking. Alcohol is not a hydrating drink and can actually cause people to urinate more frequently, which can lead to dehydration faster. He said if you do decide to drink alcohol, make sure it is paired with plenty of water or a sports drink.
Molstrom said if someone can’t leave their house and they don’t have air conditioning, they should consider putting cold towels or ice packs on their body to stay cool.
“Almost all heat-related illnesses are preventable and that’s the key, preventable just by understanding the warning signs and understanding how you can prepare for them,” he said.