EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

July 19, 2013

Heat keeps hospitals, cooling centers busy

Local hospitals and doctor’s offices are seeing a surge in patients with heat-related illnesses as temperatures yesterday climbed into the 90s for the fourth straight day.

Cooling centers across Southern New Hampshire welcomed plenty of people seeking relief from the extreme heat.

The centers could be seeing even more today, when temperatures are expected to soar to nearly 100 degrees, according to the National Weather Service, which has issued a heat advisory. State health officials have urged residents to take precautions to avoid heat stroke and other heat-related illnesses.

Parkland Medical Center in Derry has treated numerous people suffering from dehydration because of the heat, according to Dr. Thomas Scott, who oversees the hospital’s emergency room.

“We have been seeing an increase in people coming in feeling dizzy and nauseous,” Scott said. “It’s at least three or four a day that we can attribute to that.”

Although none were seriously ill, a few people did pass out, he said.

People suffering from dehydration are given lots of water and sometimes require intravenous fluids, he said. Scott advises people to drink at least 10 to 16 8-ounce glasses of water a day to avoid dehydration.

Derry Medical Center and Londonderry Family Practice, Elliot Hospital in Manchester and Holy Family Hospital in Methuen also reported increases in patients with heat-related illnesses.

Joanne McNulty, who supervises the emergency center at Holy Family, said they have seen an increase in patients with respiratory problems.

“In extreme heat conditions like this, individuals with respiratory conditions such as asthma, COPD and emphysema need to be cautious,” she said. “It’s best to stay out of the heat and humidity as it may exacerbate respiratory symptoms.”

At Parkland, Scott said the patients treated tended to be either young or elderly. He said many of those patients thought they were suffering from something other than dehydration.

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