Health experts, fire officials warn of heat dangers as high temps continue

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GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) — As high temperatures across the Upstate remain in the 90s, health experts and fire officials alike are warning of the potential consequences: Greenville’s fire marshal wants to draw increased attention to the dangers of leaving children and pets in hot cars and doctors are warning of the risk of heat stroke.

“We’ve noticed that the days are getting hotter and hotter — the heat index today is actually 104 degrees,” Greenville City Fire Marshal Tristan Johnson said. He said the inside of a car can range anywhere from 110° to 135°.

Johnson says the pandemic has changed people’s habits.

“One of the dangers of that is possibly forgetting your child in the back of the car.”

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, reported 52 child deaths in 2019 from children being left in hot cars. Eleven have died so far this year.

Johnson recommends that parents always to remember to check the back seat. He even encourages leaving a shoe in the back seat so drivers will not walk off without opening the back of the car.

Dr. Ryan Hoffman, an ER physician at Bon Secours St. Francis, told us that this summer, he has not yet seen any cases of heat stroke, which can be fatal. However, the ER has seen numerous cases of heat exhaustion and other ailments.

“We’ve had multiple people with heat cramps, heat exhaustion, a lot of headaches, nausea, some vomiting, basically just feeling poorly,” he said.

He recommends watching out for several symptoms that could be caused by the heat.

  • Headaches
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle cramps
  • Confusion or dizziness
  • Unresponsiveness

To prevent any heat-related illness, Hoffman suggests staying hydrated and avoiding extreme activity during the hottest hours of the day.

If you start to notice some of the symptoms of heat exhaustion, he said, head indoors, re-hydrate and even take a cold shower.

If you or the person you are with cannot retain fluids, exhibits confusion, dizziness or is unresponsive, Hoffman says it’s time to go to the ER.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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