GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - As temperatures soar so do visits to the emergency department. Dr. David Carney at Garden Park Medical Center in Gulfport, said they have seen more people coming in with heat related illnesses in recent weeks.
"There's definitely an increase in heat related illnesses," he said.
Dr. Carney said people of all ages end up in the ER with heat related illnesses that can lead to serious complications; even death.
"The three we think about, heat exhaustion which is the mildest form and mainly has to do with mild dehydration. Then that can extend to heat exhaustion which is more severe with headaches, nausea, vomiting. And you can end up with the highest degree of illness which is heat stroke; and basically just like the name implies. That's where you can end up having neurological problems," said Dr. Carney.
Dr. Carney said as your body works to cool itself under extreme heat, blood rushes to the surface of the skin and less blood reaches your brain, muscles, and other organs.
"You can have renal failure. A lot of complications if you don't take care of it," he added.
Staying hydrated is the primary key to staying safe. And if you work long hours in the heat that's even more critical.
"Fluid intake, fluid intake, fluid intake. If your body temperature gets up to 104 you can have seizures. So stay hydrated and take breaks from the heat," he said.
He said with prompt treatment most people recover completely from heat related illness, but if you have symptoms don't wait to seek treatment.
"Anytime you have symptoms of headache, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, you should probably come in and be evaluated," Dr. Carney said.
Of course you can suffer heat related illnesses even if you're not working or exercising outdoors. So even if you're simply relaxing on the beach, drink plenty of fluids and avoid alcohol and caffeine.