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Doctors Expect Heat-Related Illnesses As Hot Temperatures Continue In Philadelphia Area

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- The region has its first heat-related death. A 73-year-old man in Allentown who had underlying health conditions died Thursday.

Doctors are expecting to see more heat-related illnesses as the hot temperatures continue. Heat kills more people than any other weather-related event, including tornados and hurricanes, which is why doctors say people need to be careful this weekend.

Philadelphia is baking. Prolonged heat in the city makes hot temperatures scorching.

It's all the concrete, like on Broad Street crowded with cars where heat is amplified, creating the heat island effect.

"It's too hot, it's too hot right now," one woman said.

"I'm warm as hell," one man said.

Prolonged days of heat without cooling in the evenings increase the risk for heat-related illnesses.

"People come in, have temperatures up as high as 104, 105, 106," Dr. Delane Wardlaw said. "Those temperatures can get really high."

Wardlaw with Temple Health says the hospital is geared up for an expected increase in patients suffering from the heat.

"Infusing cool fluids into the body itself will help to lower the temperature," Wardlaw said.

She says in addition to cooling IVs, patients can also be cooled externally.

"Spray them with some water then have fans blowing on them," Wardlaw said. "Also, using ice packs or cooling blankets."

The Philadelphia heatline will be operating over the weekend to help people struggling to find relief.

"This is brutal, brutal," one man said. "I don't have a pool so I've just got to go inside in the tub, and put some ice cubes in the tub and, this is not my kind of weather."

Talk about suffering in the heat. It's especially tough for people who have to work outside. Staying hydrated is critical.

Doctors say any prolonged time in the heat can turn dangerous, especially for people at high risk.

"Elderly, they may not be aware of the changes that are going on in their body," Wardlaw said, "and same with people experiencing mental health conditions, they simply may not be aware of the changes."

That's why it's important to check on friends and family, especially this weekend when people might be more isolated.

Young children are also more at risk in the heat. It's best to find inside activities this weekend.

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