PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Philadelphia Health Department says there were two heat-related deaths over the weekend in Philadelphia and the city’s heat health emergency has been extended through Monday night.
It’s been several days of scorching heat and it is taking a toll.READ MORE: Mother Of 6 Stabbed To Death In West Philly Had Protective Order Against Fiance Charged In Her Murder
As expected, hospitals all over the region are seeing an increased number of people with heat-related illnesses.
Heat issues can take a few days to build up and now people are suffering from heat exhaustion and some with more serious heat stroke.
Hospitals are using a variety of measures to help people cool down.
“Ice machine, we can use fans, we can use ice packs to cool the patient,” a nurse at Lankenau Hospital said.
Nurses at Lankenau Hospital say the ice bags are getting a workout as the emergency department is flooded with patients suffering from heat-related illnesses.
“It was a busy ER, always busy, but we certainly saw a lot of heat-related emergencies,” emergency physician Dr. Louis Argentine said.READ MORE: Philabundance Distributing More Food Than Ever Amid Skyrocketing Prices Caused By Inflation
Dr. Argentine says the weekend bought a variety of heat-related issues.
“We’re seeing anything from people with simple rashes to feeling hot, sweaty, overheated with muscle cramps. Then we’re also seeing some people that are really sick, they’re passing out, even getting stroke-like symptoms, slurred speech, confusion, even unconscious patients. So it can get pretty serious,” Argentine said.
Doctors say the heat is especially dangerous for people at high risk, like the elderly and those with existing conditions.
“I do want to stress, anybody is at risk so even the young, 25-year-old healthy person that’s out enjoying the pool should be very careful,” Dr. Argentine said.
He says they’ve seen a few cases of something called Rhabdomyolysis, where high body temperatures damage the muscle that causes a toxic leakage into the blood.
To prevent that, hot patients can also be wrapped in a cooling blanket attached to this machine.MORE NEWS: Darren Arnold Sought For Allegedly Setting Fire To West Philly Home Where 150 Jugs Of Gasoline Were Found
A body temperature of 107 can also put significant strain on the heart and make breathing more difficult. That’s why it’s especially important to keep high-risk people inside during this kind of heat wave.