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Signs of heat stroke? Head to the ER.

Emergency medicine physician offers tips amid Chicago’s heat wave

CHICAGO --- As temperatures continue to trend toward triple digits in Chicago this week, emergency medicine physician Dr. Evelyn Huang has provided tips on keeping cool and safe, including when it’s time to head to the emergency room.

Dr. Evelyn Huang is available today for print and broadcast interviews. Contact Kristin Samuelson to arrange.

Heat-related illnesses fall on a spectrum, said Dr. Huang, who is a resident physician at McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern University. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention created this graphic that can help decipher signs of each illness and what to do.

“Heat exhaustion comes before heat stroke,” Huang said. “With heat stroke, you’re going to see the person exhibiting signs of confusion, not acting like themselves, dizziness and even possibly loss of consciousness. You want to put them in a shaded area and cool them with cool cloths and get them to the emergency department.”

Huang’s other tips to stay cool include:

  • Drinking plenty of water and/or sports drinks, which help replenish electrolytes
  • Staying in shaded areas or, if possible, air conditioning
  • Not exerting too much energy, especially between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • Wearing sunscreen. “Sunburnt skin is not as protected as normal skin, so you’re more likely to get dehydrated,” she said.