Don’t let heat illness put your summer on ice
By Annette Tait
Extreme heat isn’t the only cause of heat illness. Even North Dakota summers offer temperatures that can lead to heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Both are serious conditions; heat stroke is life-threatening and considered a medical emergency.
“People don’t seem to realize the seriousness of heat emergencies, especially that they can result in death,” Oliver County Ambulance Service Squad Leader Mickie McNulty-Eide said.
Anyone who is active during hot weather or is exposed to high temperatures over a period of time may be susceptible to heat illness.
“It is important that people are educated on the signs and symptoms of a heat related illness and well as ways to prevent it,” Coal Country Community Health Center Certified Family Nurse Practitioner Deb Sailer said. “I believe that we do not see a large number of patients [for heat illness] because people are aware of early signs and symptoms as well as prevention.”
“When we do have [cases of heat illness], it’s usually during a special event like the demolition derby, softball tournaments, fairs, tractor pull, bull riding, etc.,” McNulty-Eide said. “It seems like more people catch it before it gets too bad or really don’t realize how bad they are.”
Even though CCCHC and OCAS don’t see many cases of heat illness, conditions in Center and Oliver County still put residents at risk. Sailer noted that humidity, solar radiation and increased temperatures are several contributing factors in the area, as well as the large number of people who work outdoors in agriculture, construction, mining, recreation and other occupations.