Hospital ER's seeing spike in heat-related illnesses

Air conditioners are gone, fans are quickly running out and emergency rooms are packed. And if that isn't enough, it's actually going to get hotter.

"Close the window and pull the blinds down!," laughed Bill Dickhaus, who runs the Ace Hardware in Northside.

As the excessive heat warning lingers over the Tri-State, University Hospital has been swamped with patients suffering from heat related illnesses.

One doctor said they've been slammed for days with wall to wall with patients.

"We're extremely busy," said Dr. Stewart Wright, who is the attending physician over the ER at University Hospital. "We've been pretty much booked solid over 100-percent capacity for the last two or three weeks."

Dr. Wright said not all cases are heat related, but they're definitely seeing a spike with these body-boiling temperatures.

"So your brain can start to mis-function," Dr. Wright said. "So, it can make you act like you've had a stroke, but it's not a typical stroke."

He recommends taking it easy and staying hydrated.

"It's important that you just don't drink plain water," he explained. "But some of the hydration drinks that you see, like Gatorade and such, can be valuable because you don't lose just pure water but you also lose electrolytes, sugar and other things like that, so it's important to replace everything that you lose."

We searched Northside for something cool at Bill Dickhaus' Ace Hardware, where he can't keep an air conditioner in-house.

"This is our July circular we pass out one every month," he said holding-up the paper. "This had all of our summer stuff in it."

You'd be hard-pressed to find much of any of that stuff left in the narrow catacombs of his store.

There is barely a handful of fans left.

"Our air conditioners are gone," he lamented. "Can't keep those in stock, they're going every day." He places new orders every week and can get new ones in each Wednesday, but they sell out as fast as they come in.

His employees scramble to get the goods.

"Be in here a half hour," said long-time employee Joe Hodge. "It's not cool no more!"

Over the river, in Bellevue, KY, Schneider's Sweet Shop will cool you down from the inside-out.

One customer said she stayed cool by staying in the air conditioning and having one of Schnieders' popular ice balls.

"Chopping a piece of ice off of one of our big blocks that are down here," demonstrated Alissa Gay, who's been shaving ice for these delicacies for 5 years.

A few stabs with an ice pick and the block was ready for crushing.

"Then you put a layer of ice in a cup," she said. "Get your ice cream, make a nice little ball, then round it off to make the ball."

"This is nectar syrup," she said. "We make this homemade here."

Eating or drinking something cool is a great way to bring-down your body temperature when you become overheated. Just don't try to consume it all at once. Take smaller bites til you gradually cool down.

Doctors said drink not only water, but drinks that have other nutrients in them as well. Your body is working overtime in the heat. Make sure you're hydrated properly, so you can handle it.

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