Maricopa County emergency rooms see spike in heat related illnesses

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Emergency rooms in Maricopa County are seeing a spike in heat related illness incidents. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5 News) Emergency rooms in Maricopa County are seeing a spike in heat related illness incidents. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5 News)
Dr. Frank LoVecchio with Banner University Medical Center. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5 News) Dr. Frank LoVecchio with Banner University Medical Center. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5 News)
Phoenix mom, Esperanze Madrid, recently had a close call with heat illness. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5 News) Phoenix mom, Esperanze Madrid, recently had a close call with heat illness. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5 News)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

Emergency rooms in Maricopa County are seeing a spike in patients getting sick from exposure to extreme desert heat.

“I have six kids that I have to take care of, and if I get sick, then who’s going to take care of them?” said Esperanza Madrid, a Phoenix mom.

Madrid recalled a recent hot weather scare.

“Doing errands one day, and I just felt like I was going to pass out. I had to sit down from what I was doing, and actually some guy came and brought me water," said Madrid.

Luckily, she avoided a trip to the emergency room, but many aren’t so lucky.

“It would be uncommon, not to see one or two patients a day with heat related illness," said Dr. Frank LoVecchio of Banner University Medical Center.

According to LoVecchio, those at highest risk for heat illness are children, the elderly, those who work outside and those who take prescription medications, but even healthy young adults are known to become victim to dehydration, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

If you’re thirsty, have a headache, nausea, muscle aches, flushed skin, dizziness, rapid or weak pulse, heavy sweating, or if you stop sweating altogether, you likely have some form of heat-related illness. If not treated, the consequences can be deadly.

"Unfortunately, heat illness in the Valley is not going to go away, and the thing that we can do best is try to prevent it, and the ways to prevent it is [sic] to try to take breaks, drink lots of water, stay cool," said LoVecchio.

So how much water should you be drinking? Experts say a good rule of thumb is half your body weight in ounces of water. Those working outside should drink double that.

More information on signs, symptoms, prevention and treatment of heat illness can be found here.

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