Temperatures soar across Mid-Ohio Valley

The Vienna welcome sign on Grand Central Avenue shows the temperature at 98. (Photo by Evan Bevins)

PARKERSBURG — Local emergency departments have seen cases of heat-related ailments, officials said on Wednesday.

The cases have been more heat exhaustion-like rather than the more-severe heat stroke, which can cause neurological damage, said Dr. Tyler Hill, medical director of Emergency and Urgent Care Services for the Memorial Health System. The system includes the emergency rooms at Marietta Memorial Hospital, Selby General Hospital and at Memorial’s Belpre campus.

The National Weather Services in Charleston Wednesday issued a heat advisory from noon to 7 p.m. that included Wood, Jackson, Roane, Wirt and Calhoun counties and the cities of Pomeroy, Gallipolis, Ravenswood, Ripley, Parkersburg, Vienna, Spencer, Elizabeth and Grantsville.

The weather service advisory cautions that the combination of high temperatures and high humidity will create a situation in which heat illnesses are possible. Temperatures are in the 90s and are expected to stay there into next week.

People with conditions that are affected by high heat and humidity, such as respiratory issues, are among the most susceptible, said Susan Abdella, director of the emergency department at WVU Medicine Camden Clark Medical Center. Medications also affect how a person is impacted by the heat, she said.

“We’re seeing those kind of things,” Abdella said.

Among the main precautions when working in the heat is to stay hydrated, Hill said. He recommends drinking plenty of fluids that replace electrolytes the body has lost, such as Gatorade or Powerade.

“Not just water,” Hill said.

Abdella also said it’s important to stay hydrated with fluids containing electrolytes. For young children, a drink such as Pedialyte is good, she said.

Besides staying hydrated, Hill also recommends taking frequent breaks, finding cooler places like in the shade or air conditioned areas and wearing clothing suitable for the temperatures that are both light in color and in thickness.

Acclimating to working in hotter temperatures will help, too, like athletes who train under such conditions, Hill said. Someone who works in an office during the week wouldn’t have the tolerance for the heat while working in the yard on the weekend, for example, he said.

Parkersburg South High School Assistant Principal Maria Francisco said the heat was not likely to affect any events, but officials are keeping an eye on temperatures.

“We do not have anything going on today that is outside,” Francisco said. “It’s not a flex day or conditioning day for football. If the advisory continues, we will certainly make sure our student athletes are safe and monitored closely.”

Another precaution and advice is to check and then check again that no one or pets are left in a parked car before leaving on an errand, Hill said. It doesn’t take long before harm is done from exposure to the heat in a car, he said.

“It never hurts to double or triple check,” Hill said.

Jess Mancini can be reached at jmancini@newsandsentinel.com.