Local emergency rooms have been busy the last several days because of the heat. St. Joseph Regional Medical Center and Memorial Hospital’s emergency room and Med-Point locations treated about 40 patients for heat exhaustion and dehydration since Friday.
Ambulances transported about five people from the St. Joseph County 4-H fairgrounds to the hospital after they passed out during Granger Community Church’s Sunday church service that was held outdoors at the fair, said fair director Mark Tingle.
“My blood pressure was going up a little bit,” he said.
From fair vendors, to fair goers, to the animals, keeping cool has been a priority.
“I get really sweaty and sweat starts to drip down me,” said 8-year-old Gillian Guipe, who visted the fair with her mom and two younger sisters Monday.
“We’ve been adding water to our lemon shake-ups and just drink lots of water,” added her mom, Christy. “I bring tons of it in with me. My entire stroller is full of water.”
Each year, fair organizers set up water misting fans throughout the fairgrounds and have four to six firefighters on standby during fair hours.
“It can absolutely be challenging,” said Michael Taylor, an artist from Elkhart who uses spray paint cans to create pictures. “I eat light in the morning, I will absolutely hydrate. I also hydrate when I get home because they are long days.”
Aside from the respirator he wears to protect himself from the fumes, he also has to keep the area around his tent safe for other people.
“I have to keep my tent fully enclosed because of the paint fumes so I have to have a downdraft booth and keep everything enclosed so I don't get the breeze that a lot of these people get out here,” he said.
Inside the Indiana Ribeye tent, Kort Schelstraete tried to keep sweat out of his eyes and happily sang along with the country music on his radio while he grilled steaks and corn.
“This can get to be about 3,500 degrees,” he said, pointing to the grill. “[It gets] really hot. You’ve got to wash your face every once in a while and just keep to it the whole time.”
WSBT meteorologist Paul Emmick is calling for temperatures near 100 degrees Tuesday.
If you are going to be outside in the extreme heat, doctors recommend drinking plenty of water, wearing light-colored, loose fitting clothing and taking breaks in the shade or air conditioning. Young children and the elderly are the most at risk when it’s very hot outside.