Injuries more common in heat waves than cold spells

Heat exhaustion, heat stroke the most common illnesses

A cyclists rests on a Portland-area sidewalk Sept. 11, 2013 (KOIN)
A cyclists rests on a Portland-area sidewalk Sept. 11, 2013 (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Even during the heat, people still love to exercise. But doctors say injuries and death are more common during extreme heat than in blizzards and snow storms.

“Heat waves are something we’re all concerned about,” Dr. Zane Horowitz told KOIN 6 News. “Running outside when it’s 105 degrees, you know, doing your routine, if you’re going to do that, take plenty of water, get in the shade a lot, take frequent stops. It’s really asking for trouble.”

Dr. Zane Horowitz, the medical director for the Oregon Poison Center at OHSU, August 1, 2017 (KOIN)
Dr. Zane Horowitz, the medical director for the Oregon Poison Center at OHSU, August 1, 2017 (KOIN)

Portland firefighters told KOIN 6 News they’ve seen an increase in heat-related injuries in the past 24 hours.

“If you have to go out and do your exercise routine, or have to do some intense work, get it done in the morning when its cooler,” he said. “You have to be extra, extra careful when you go out in the hot weather like this. It can be a formula for just raising your internal body temperature.”

The 2 most common illnesses during a heat wave are heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Heat exhaustion is where you become tired and could pass out, while heat stroke is marked by passing out and your body loses the ability to self-regulate.

The fastest way to cool someone down is to sit them in front of an air conditioner or fan and use a mist spray bottle.

However, calling for help may be the best idea.

“When you reach critical temperatures, when you’ve lost consciousness, there are things we probably have to do more aggressively in the hospital,” said Horowitz, the medical director of the Oregon Poison Center at OHSU. “It’s best, you know, to be brought into the emergency department at that point.”