By Kim Glovas

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – With the mercury soaring into the upper 90s today, this is the fourth day in a row of 90-plus temperatures (Check the CBS Philly Weather page for today’s forecast). That’s giving emergency room doctors some extra work.

Dr. Robert McNamara, chair of the emergency medicine department at Temple University Hospital, says this isn’t the first stretch of hot weather this summer, but it’s the same situation every time in the ER.


“We are definitely seeing a larger number of elderly folks coming in with cardiorespiratory complaints,” he says.  “The real danger is the older person who is in a hot, indoor environment, the warnings that go out — check on the elderly, make sure they’re not in an enclosed room with fans just recirculating the hot air — you really have to be very careful with the elderly in these conditions.”

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bio mcnamara Heat Wave Creates Busy Emergency Rooms

Dr. Robert McNamara. (Photo provided by Temple University)

McNamara says it’s much easier for the elderly to get sick from the heat because of pre-existing medical conditions, especially cardiopulmonary ailments. He says mild heat illness can feel like the flu, with chills and nausea.

“When you start feeling poorly in the heat, you can’t keep going then you could progress into the more serious form which is heat stroke, which the trouble with that is it can cause brain damage. But heat stroke itself is a much more severe form of heat illness.”

McNamara says keep the non-alcoholic drinks flowing in hot weather, stay in a cool place, and if you have to, move those older folks to air conditioning or at least to a place with fans on and windows open.

Reported by Kim Glovas, KYW Newsradio 1060

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