Heat adds additional health threat to Wisconsin residents

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With state temperatures expected to soar beyond 90 degrees Fahrenheit this week, our emergency medicine physicians want people in our community to think about their health.

The combination of high temperatures and high humidity increase susceptibility to sunburn and dehydration, the ramifications of which are relatively less severe, but also to heat exhaustion and heat stroke, which can be at the very least unpleasant and potentially life threatening.

As many people may turn to outdoor activities during the COVID-19 pandemic, people should be keenly aware of the symptoms of heat exhaustion, which is a depletion of the body's water and salt resources, according to Dr. Brian Patterson, assistant professor of emergency medicine at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health, and UW Health emergency room physician.

The symptoms of heat exhaustion include feeling overheated or lightheaded, fatigue and nausea.

“With heat stroke, which is the more severe form, people are dehydrated to the point they're not sweating, and their temperatures are elevated to a dangerous point,” he said. “They can become confused and even unconscious."

Read more steps to avoid heat-related illness...