Rising temperatures pose risk for heat-related illness - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Rising temperatures pose risk for heat-related illness

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- With temperatures expected to rise across the Louisville Metro area this week, fun in the sun can become dangerous quickly.

"When it gets to be as hot as it's going to be, it's dangerous to be in the direct sunlight,” said Dr. Robert Couch, Emergency Department Director at Norton Audubon Hospital. 

Some locals chose to splash around at Waterfront Park on Wednesday, but only for about an hour before heading inside to beat the heat.

"We're going to go into the air conditioning for the rest of the afternoon," Phoebe Freer said. "We came out this morning so we wouldn't be out during the hottest part of the day."

That's a great idea, as doctors suggest doing any outdoor activities in the early morning or late evening when the temperatures are cooler. But some people are struck outdoors working in the hot sun. 

"It's very easy to get over-heated, especially when the sun is blazing in your face,” said Audrey Harrod, a mail carrier with the United States Postal Service. 

WDRB News followed Harrod on her mail route for about half an hour Wednesday, just a small part of her work day. 

"By the end of the day, you don't realize how much of a toll this takes on your body until you're ready to hit the sack,” Harrod said. 

 When you're spending time in the sun, doctors recommend taking these precautions to keep you safe: 

  • Apply sunscreen liberally and often
  • Drink plenty of water every 15 minutes while outdoors
  • Wear a hat to protect your head
  • Do activities in shaded areas
  • Take frequent breaks 

Experts say it’s easy to overdo it and become ill. 

"As the temperature increases over the next few days, we do expect to see more heat-related illnesses,” Couch said. “There's a whole spectrum of heat illness from simple heat cramps that people have to heat exhaustion, which is more serious.”

Heat exhaustion, heat stroke and sun poisoning could land you in the emergency room. 

"If we're seeing people who have confusion, mental status changes, weakness, collapse, those are true emergencies and people need to come to the emergency department,” Couch said.

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