Wichita hospital already seeing heat illness victims

Posted: Updated:
WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) -

Communities all across Kansas are experiencing triple digit heat.  And already the emergency room at Via Christi St. Francis is seeing heat illness victims.  

Dr. Howard Chang, Via Christi's Emergency Department director tells KAKE news, "These past couple of days we've seen a couple of heat related work illnesses, where somebody's working outside in the heat and they have to come in because they're getting muscle cramps, fatigue, heavy sweating, nausea, even vomiting and they came to get checked out."  

Dr. Chang said heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke which can lead to death.  

Many have to work outdoors in the heat.  Dr. Chang advises workers have a buddy system and check up on co-workers to watch for heat illness symptoms.

Some of those heat illness symptoms Dr. Chang gives include, a feeling of extreme heat, heavy sweating, muscle cramps, fatigue, nausea and vomiting. 

U.S. Postal workers deliver the mail in the cold or the heat.  But Postal Supervisor Scott Lehman said postal workers are reminded to take extra water while on their delivery routes and take breaks to avoid overheating.  He says the post office buys pallets of water for the carriers.  Lehman said, "The job is a lot harder than what it looks like, especially when it's hot, the humidity is up.  It's pretty taxing on the body."  

Nancy Berube has carried mail in Wichita for 17 years.  Her advise to keep from overheating is, "Just got to drink a lot of water, stay in the shade, if you can, know your limits so you know when you need to take a break."  

Maintenance Engineer for Wichita Public Works and Utilities, Aaron Henning said, the summer is often the time when work crews do pot hole patching.  Those crews work in the sun, wear extra safety clothing and hard hats and work with hot pot hole patching material.  Henning said, "We encourage everyone to drink at least every 15 minutes even if they're not thirsty.  Two, take frequent breaks to cool down."  

Dr. Chang reminds those working outdoors to drink lots of water and avoid alcohol and sweet drinks during the heat.