Northeast Ohio heat-related illnesses rise; EMS and local emergency rooms respond

Residents must keep watch on the warning signs

CLEVELAND - Junior Fernandez of Cleveland just happened to be at the right place at the right time. His quick thinking may have played a role in saving his neighbor's life.

Fernandez happened to spot his neighbor slumped against a chain-link fence near his front yard. His neighbor was sweating profusely and was not responding, so Fernandez dialed 911 for help.

"I just came out and I saw the guy lying on the side walk, lying down breathing really heavily," Fernandez said. "I think it's the heat, in this heat people should be careful going out."

Fernandez told NewsChannel5 that paramedics confirmed the intense heat over the past couple of days contributed to his neighbors attack. It's a situation that is playing out in northeast Ohio with alarming growth.

Cleveland's MetroHealth Medical Center reported more than 80 heat related cases came to its emergency room in one 24-hour period.

Dr. Charles Emerman, Chairman of Emergency Medicine at Metro Health Medical Center, urged residents to stay aware of heat illness warning signs.

"If you're feeling weak, you're feeling dizzy, you're feeling like you're going to pass out, then you need to come to the emergency room," Emerman said. "It's a bad sign if your stop sweating, but we don't want anybody to get to that point."

Emerman told NewsChannle5 this heat can also trigger a host of other health issues, especially in the elderly.

"We're seeing many more people with respiratory problems," Emerman said. "The air quality in Cleveland is not good when you have these heat inversions, so a lot people with asthma and emphysema, and people with heart failure are having problems."

"Also, older people don't take in enough water, so they're weak, they feel dizzy and they pass out. People just don't drink enough water."

Emerman advises residents dealing with this heat should drink at least two glasses of water every hour and eight glasses total each day.

Residents should avoid alcohol, caffeine, sodium and large meals, which can cause dehydration.

Residents should wear loosely fitting, light-weight clothing and try to avoid heavy outdoor work during the hottest part of the day.

Fernandez is hoping his neighbor will make a full recovery.

"I will pray for him every day that he'll be fine," Fernandez said. "Everybody else, they need to take care of themselves. I mean it's hot right now and this heat could be killing people and they don't even know."

More heat illness prevention, treatment and information can be found on this page.

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