Deadly Triple-Digit Temps Keeping Hospitals Busy

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A brutal heat wave is threatening much of the country Friday and this weekend. 
   
One million square miles across the nation have been hit by at or near triple-digit temperatures.
    
The weather is already being blamed for nearly two dozen deaths and emergency room visits are way up, with some hospitals seeing four times the usual amount of heat related cases.

"People with heat exhaustion are coming in feeling weak, tired, nauseated, some with vomiting," reported Vanderbilt University Hospital's Dr. Corey Slovis. "People with heat stroke are coming with elevated temperatures and alterations in mental status, either lethargy or coma."

Click play to watch an updated report with CBN News' Paul Strand that includes tips on how to beat the heat.

Those who have to work outdoors like one group of employees on the tarmac of Chicago's O'Hare International Airport are some of the most vulnerable to the scorching temperatures. Temperatures hit over 110 degrees by midday Thursday.

"You just pretend you're in the gym, in the sauna.  It's like a little spa," United Airlines' Janice Geske said.
   
Even after nightfall the heat doesn't let up. This month nearly 100 cities tied or set records for highs overnight, leading to extreme power usage.
    
Chicago and Philadelphia set all-time highs for electricity use this week, and New York is expected to be next. Utility companies say they're preparing for power outages.

"If we need to deliver dry ice, we can do that.  If we need to roll generators we can do that," said John Miksad, senior vice president of electric operations at New York's Con Edison.

Some like soldiers stationed at Fort Sill, Okla., have no choice but to be outside. But they're coping, thanks to creative solutions like using a cooling trough.

"Basically you put their arms in it, the entire forearm to just above the elbow, keep the water about 50 degrees, and in about five minutes you can literally cool the core temperature of the body significantly enough to stop the effects of the heat," Capt. David Leibovich explained.

For other workers, it's become apparent that burning the midnight oil is better than burning under the midday sun.
 
"It's just too hot to work during the day," Oklahoma turf worker Eric Pratt said. "I mean, the turf heats up and additional 15 degrees at least."

Cooler air is expected to move across the northern part of the country Friday. But for everyone else, relief is not expected until early next week.

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