Recent heat wave sends more patients to ECU Health emergency room

ECU Health ER
Published: Jun. 15, 2022 at 7:54 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - Things are heating up in Eastern Carolina, but it’s not enough to keep Richelle Price and Garrett Deal from taking a walk on the Greenway to get ready for their wedding day.

“We usually do the whole trail, but we kinda did just two miles today. Just… came right on back, just to stay cool,” Deal explained.

At Greenville’s new city pool, kids are enjoying the water. Director Con Octigan said they make sure everyone who is out enjoying area parks knows how to take care of themselves.

“As patrons here check-in for the pool, we remind them of those safety precautions, to make sure they’re hydrated, make sure they have sunscreen,” Octigan said. “Of course, there’s pool-related safety protocols too, so we have a list we use to go over everything with everyone.”

ECU Health Medical Center’s Emergency Department is working hard to handle cases of people dealing with extreme heat.

“We have seen increased volume for our emergency department for heat-related illnesses,” Ellen Walston, ECU Health Injury Prevention Program coordinator said.

Walston works to educate people about the signs of serious problems related to heat.

“We know that heat stroke is an absolute emergency, and that’s where you experience light-headedness, dizziness. You may have even experienced numbness or tingling in your extremities,” Walston said. “If we aren’t careful when spending time outside, the effects can be long-term. If you’re not properly hydrated, that is gonna affect your kidneys, and any time you have long-time exposure.”

This is advice Deal is taking to heart.

“Every time I get a chance, I’m... gulp, gulp, gulp. Just chugging it down. But absolutely, we have to stay hydrated,” Deal said with a laugh.

It varies from person to person in how much exposure it takes before the risk of a heat stroke.

Specialists say it’s important to communicate with kids when they’re outside because they don’t always verbalize when they are feeling dehydrated.

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