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Mercy Health Urges Summer Heat Awareness

Katie Halloran
Ph: 616-685-1896
Cell: 616-260-5101

Mercy Health Urges Summer Heat Awareness
Beating the heat should also include a plan to reduce your risk of heat-related illnesses

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (July 16, 2013) — As the summer weather continues to heat up, the number of people who suffer heat-related illnesses can also rise. Ideally, the human body tries to maintain its normal temperature of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. However, when a person's body temperature rises rapidly, very high body temperatures may damage vital organs. Certain conditions can increase risk factors of illness, including obesity, heart disease, mental illness, poor circulation, sunburn, and prescription drug and alcohol use. The elderly and young (ages newborn to 4 years) also face an increased risk.

There are ways to safely cope with the heat and minimize the risk of heat-related illnesses, including:

  • NEVER leave children or pets in an enclosed car — even if the windows are slightly open.
  • Drink plenty of fluids (avoiding alcohol and caffeinated beverages).
  • Dress in light-colored, loose fitting cotton clothing.
  • Try to spend the hottest part of the day in air conditioning; visit the mall, take in a movie or go to the library.
  • Plan for hot weather – listen to weather reports.
  • Learn the symptoms of various heat illnesses and check in often on elderly family members and neighbors.

"We are very concerned about the elderly when it gets this hot. If you have elderly neighbors who live alone or who do not have family nearby, check on them and help them stay cool and well hydrated," Jerry Evans, MD, emergency medicine physician at Mercy Health Muskegon Hackley Campus and medical director for Muskegon County Medical Control.

"Heat-related illnesses can also affect people with pre-existing conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, and those on certain medications that may cause dehydration, like some blood pressure drugs," said Michael Olgren, MD, medical director of Emergency Services at Mercy Health Saint Mary's Campus. "We caution people with medical conditions to stay aware of how the heat may affect them, and encourage them to seek care if they begin to not feel well."

For more information on staying healthy this summer, talk with your primary care provider. It's always best to be prepared and have a plan to deal with the summer heat during the hottest days of summer.


Mercy Health

Mercy Health is a multi-campus health care system dedicated to providing highly personalized care, excellent access to primary care providers and specialists and a more informed patient experience. Mercy Health serves West Michigan and the lakeshore with five hospital campuses, 58 physician offices, more than 1,300 medical staff physicians, more than 800 hospital beds and 7,200 associates. Mercy Health Physician Partners, our multi-specialty physician network, employs a total of 491 providers: 275 Physicians and Advanced Practice Professionals in Grand Rapids and 216 Physicians and Advanced Practice Professionals in Muskegon and the lakeshore. The system includes leading teaching hospitals, and renowned clinical leadership in oncology, cardiology, orthopedics, and neurology. Mercy Health Saint Mary's is a Magnet®-recognized hospital. Mercy Health is a regional health ministry of Livonia, Mich.-based CHE Trinity Health, one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic health care delivery systems in the nation. It serves people and communities in 21 states from coast to coast with 82 hospitals, 89 continuing care facilities and home health and hospice programs that provide nearly 2.8 million visits annually. Visit us at and and find us on Facebook at