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MedStar poised to treat heat-related illnesses during upcoming temperature spike

Posted June 7, 2019

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inside of MedStar ambulance
MedStar is updating its fleet with ambulances designed with the Texas heat in mind. The ambulances have three air conditioners — one for the cab and two for the patient/crew compartment.

In May, MedStar crews treated 25 patients with heat-related conditions, and 12 of those patients were transported to area hospitals.

With the season’s highest temperatures of the year arriving this week, it’s a good time to remember that prolonged or intense exposure to high temperatures can cause heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion and heatstroke.

Heat exhaustion occurs when the body loses large amounts of water and salt through excessive sweating, particularly through hard physical labor or exercise. This loss of essential fluids can disturb circulation and interfere with brain function. Symptoms of heat exhaustion may include muscle cramps, paleness, sweating, nausea and vomiting. Children and the elderly are especially susceptible.

Heatstroke is a life-threatening problem that occurs when the body suffers from long, intense exposure to heat and loses its ability to cool itself. Some of the most common signs of heatstroke include confusion, vomiting, alteration in sweating, hot and flushed skin, rapid heart rate, decreased sweating, shortness of breath, decreased urination, increased body temperature (104-106 degrees Fahrenheit) or, potentially, convulsions.

Heatstroke is a medical emergency. If you or someone you know starts experiencing any of the symptoms above, immediately call 911.

While heatstroke and heat exhaustion are common this time of year, they can be easily prevented:

  • Hydrate. Drink plenty of water during the day, especially if you are engaged in any strenuous activity. Sports drinks are a good choice if you’re exercising or working in hot conditions, but water is a good way to hydrate as well.

  • Ventilate. Stay in a place where there is plenty of air circulating to keep your body cool. If you are indoors and don’t have access to air conditioning, open windows and use a fan.

  • Cover up. Wear light-colored and loose-fitting clothing to avoid absorbing the sun’s light and trapping heat. Wear a hat to shield yourself from the sun, but once you feel yourself getting warm, remove any items covering your head that can trap heat close to your body.

  • Limit activity. Heatstroke can occur in less than an hour when you are participating in strenuous activity on a hot day. If you feel yourself getting hot or light-headed, stop your activity and rest in a cool place out of the sun. Be sure to drink water or a sports drink before, during and after any strenuous activity.

  • Check on loved ones. The elderly are especially vulnerable to heat-related emergencies. Many elderly residents are not aware of how hot it may get in their residence. Call on older friends and family members regularly to assure they are doing OK.

MedStar has a special response procedure when the heat index (some people call it the “real feel”) climbs to 105 degrees or higher. For patients outside in an unprotected area, the response priority is upgraded to limit the patient and responders from exposure to extreme heat.

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Watercress Low Pressure Sewer Improvements Project Meeting: 6 p.m. Dec. 11, 2019; Fort Worth Police Mounted Patrol Facility, 1901 N. Las Vegas Trail.

Consolidated Annual Performance and Evaluation Report Public Hearing: 6:15 p.m. Dec. 11, 2019; FWPD North Division, Community Room.

Canceled Mayor's Committee on Persons with Disabilities Meeting: 10 a.m. Dec. 12, 2019; Hazel Harvey Peace Center for Neighborhoods, 818 Missorie Ave.

Senior Holiday Luncheon at Handley Meadowbrook: 11 a.m. Dec. 12, 2019; Handley Meadowbrook Community Center, 6201 Beaty St.

Regionl Transportation Council Meeting: 1 p.m. Dec. 12, 2019; North Central Texas Council of Governments, Transportation Council Room, 1st Floor, 616 Six Flags Dr, Arlington, TX, 76011.
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Regular Meeting of The Construcion and Fire Prevention Board of Appeals: 2 p.m. Dec. 12, 2019; Development Conference Room, Lower Level, City Hall, 200 Texas St.
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Winter Wonderland Dance at Greenbriar Community Center: 5 p.m. Dec. 12, 2019; Greenbriar Community Center, 5200 Hemphill.

Municipal Court Hearing: 8:30 a.m. Dec. 13, 2019; Southwest Municipal Court, Court No. 9, 3741 Southwest Loop 280.
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Deferred Compensation Oversite Committee Meeting: 9 a.m. Dec. 13, 2019; Fort Worth Credit Union Board Room, 2309 Montgomery St.
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Winter Bash at Handley Meadowbrook Community Center: 6 p.m. Dec. 13, 2019; Handley Meadowbrook Community Center, 6201 Beaty.

Winter Dance at R.D. Evans Community Center: 7 p.m. Dec. 13, 2019; R.D. Evans Community Center, 3242 Lackland Rd..

Holiday Drop & Shop at Southwest Community Center: 9 a.m. Dec. 14, 2019; Southwest Community Center, 6300 Welch Ave.

Canceled Trinity Metro Board of Directors Meeting: 8 a.m. Dec. 16, 2019; Fort Worth Central Station, 1001 Jones Street, Fort Worth, Texas 76102.
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Building Standars Commission Pre-Meeting: 9 a.m. Dec. 16, 2019; City Council Conference Room 290, 2nd Floor, City Hall, 200 Texas St.
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Building Standards Commission Meeting: 9:30 a.m. Dec. 16, 2019; City Council Chamber, 2nd Floor, City Hall, 200 Texas St.
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Southgate Development Infrastructure Improvements Project Meeting: 6 p.m. Dec. 16, 2019; Texas Health Hugley Fitness Center, 11801 S. Freeway.

Audit Committee: 1 p.m. Dec. 17, 2019; City Council Conference Room 290, 2nd Floor, City Hall, 200 Texas Street.

Fort Worth Local Development Corporation Meeting: 2 p.m. Dec. 17, 2019; City Council Conference Room 290, City Hall, 200 Texas St.

City Council Work Session: 3 p.m. Dec. 17, 2019; City Council Conference Room 290, Second Floor, City Hall, 200 Texas Street.

View the full city calendar and current meetings.