With a heatwave on the way, how do you avoid getting heatstroke?

Jun 8, 2022, 3:00 PM

People sit in the shade of a tree. A heatwave is expected to hit Utah this week, shade and water wi...

Fairgoers lounge in the shade of a tree while enjoying their meals during the Indian Food Fair at Liberty Park in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Aug. 10, 2019. Photo credit: Colter Peterson/Deseret News.

SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah heatwave is expected to bring temperatures up to 99 on Saturday in Salt Lake City and 108 in St. George.

A Utah heatwave can send people to the ER

Doctor Marion Bishop is a doctor at the Brigham City Community Hospital and Cache Valley Hospital.  She said she does see an increase in patients coming into the hospital with sunburns and heat-related illnesses when the temperatures skyrocket. 

“We will see people in the emergency room, and I would say most of it is mild to moderate. For those folks, we just try to get them some help and rehydrate them.”

She said the emergency room also sees cases of elderly people coming in with much more severe illnesses because they can’t cool down as easily.

“Also sadly, sometimes we will see — particularly elderly — individuals who’ve been indoors and unable to cool off. And then finally, a family member or someone will call EMS. And those people are quite sick and that’s very worrying when we see that.”

“A kind thing that you can do during a heatwave is [to] just check on them. Make a phone call to an elderly person in your neighborhood,” Bishop added.

Dr. Bishop also suggested making sure babies don’t overheat because, similarly to elderly people, they can’t cool off as easily. If you feel hot, your baby is likely also hot.

How to avoid feeling ill

Preventing heatstroke comes down to the things you’ve probably heard before; drinking plenty of fluids, wearing sunscreen and maybe even a hat.

“If you’re headed out somewhere hot, make sure that you’re drinking plenty of fluids and having at least a small part of what you’re drinking be something that replaces some electrolytes. And then if you do get to that point where you’re feeling overheated, you want to get to a cool area. Find some shade, shade is going to be 10 or 15 degrees cooler,” said Bishop.

For kids and the elderly cooling off for just a few hours a day can help make a big difference. Bishop said research shows that if you can cool off for just a couple of hours a day, you’ll do better than if you’re just stuck in the heat for a long time.

Related: Salt Lake County introduces Cool Zones to beat the summer heat

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With a heatwave on the way, how do you avoid getting heatstroke?