Hot cars and heat-related illnesses, a medical perspective

The medical effects of being left in a hot car
Hot Cars (Source: KAIT)
Hot Cars (Source: KAIT)

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - During the summer months, reports of children and pets left in cars are far too numerous.

Region 8 News spoke with Dr. Jason Paxton, a medical physician at St. Bernards, to get a look at what happens when someone is inside of a hot vehicle, from a medical perspective.

Dr. Paxton is all too familiar with heat-related illnesses.

Although sunburn is the most common thing he deals with year-round, heat exhaustion and even heat strokes can be just as common during the hot summer months.

This is especially true for those caught inside of a vehicle.

"The thing about anytime with a vehicle, inside that vehicle it can suddenly, within a few minutes, even less than 10 minutes, it can be well over 120 degrees inside that vehicle," said Dr. Paxton. "If it's in direct sunlight, it can be even hotter. So, if you match that type of a high temperature with the timing of it. You can heat stroke almost instantly."

Dr. Paxton warned that heat strokes can be fatal, as they often cause seizures, confusion, neurological damage as well as kidney damage.

This makes it so important that children and pets are never left in the car, no matter how short of a time it may be.

Heat-related illnesses are very dangerous, but they can be avoided.

Dr. Paxton said if you feel nauseous or light-headed, don't push through it, instead, get to an air-conditioned area and drink lots of water.

Also, make sure to check your backseat before getting out of your car.

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