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Summer Caution: Heat-Related Illnesses On The Rise

(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Joel Thomas
Joel is an Emmy Award winning journalist with more than 15 year...
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FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) - Sirens blared as MedStar EMT supervisor Heath Stone raced his command vehicle to a heat related illness in near south Fort Worth.

This happens, on average, five times a day for MedStar crews during the summer months.  In this case, a middle-aged woman began feeling the effects of the searing sun while on a street corner.

“She was out in the heat for over an hour, felt really dizzy, she stopped sweating and that’s when she called,” Stone said as he peered into the back of an ambulance where two EMTs were administering IV bags to the woman sitting up on a gurney. “She was just sitting here at the bus stop.”

Something as simple as waiting on a bus while sitting on a bench caused her heat illness.

“Her heart beat is way up and she’s not sweating,” Stone said.  “So it’s typical signs of heat exhaustion and that could become heat stroke.

And heat stroke can be deadly.

“It doesn’t have to be a hundred degrees to see a heat related illness,” said Stone. “It’s actually the time of exposure that you’re out in the heat that we’re concerned about.”

The woman was taken to the hospital to recover.

A simple thermometer revealed a startling fact about the bench where the woman was sitting.

“I’ve got a 98,” Stone said as he touched the thermometer to the bench and read the digital output on its handle.  “It immediately jumps to a 104, 106 and 108 and it just says high after 109 degrees.”

The bench pushed the thermometer beyond its limit.

“Its got to be at least 120 degrees and to sit out here at least an hour that’s way too long,” Stone said.

The woman was the 109th heat illness patient MedStar said it had treated since June first.

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