Local hospitals brace for heat exhaustion surge

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INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- With the heat index expected to reach 110 degrees during the next three days, emergency rooms at hospitals across the metro are bracing themselves for more cases of heat exhaustion and other heat related illnesses.

As early as June when the mercury rises above 90 degrees, doctors say they start seeing cases of heat exhaustion.

Patients often believe they are just tired or catching a cold, but if you experience symptoms of nausea, headaches or muscle cramps, those can be early warning signs of heat exhaustion.

Many of the patients coming into the emergency room have to work outside, but even those who sit outside in the sun at outdoor events can become victims.

"You start to sweat and the next thing you know you are dehydrated, especially if you are not drinking water," said Dr. Mike Museousky, medical director at Centerpoint Medical Cener. "You want to stay away from things that have caffeine in them. Really water is the best. Once you start to get dehydrated that’s when muscle cramps happen, headaches, your temperature starts to go up then you start suffering from heat exhaustion."

Dr. Museousky tells those who must be outside to get up early and get their work done before the heat of the day.

He also recommends continuing to drink water every 15 to 30 minutes.

Extreme cases of heat stroke can affect your mind, where you don't know what's going on and you don't recognize that you need to get out of the heat.