Docs: Asthma, other health problems rise in heat wave


In the second day of this week’s heat waves, hospitals throughout the region reported some rises in respiratory illness and other heat-related problems.

One of the more unusual was reported at Yale-New Haven Hospital, where spokesman Mark D’Antonio said a “small child” came to the pediatric emergency department after passing out in her classroom. No age or town of residence was available for the girl. D’Antonio said cases like this aren’t uncommon, as many schools aren’t equipped to handle this kind of heat.

Otherwise, irritation of respiratory problems, including asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease seemed to be the big concern at area hospitals. Shortly before noon Tuesday, St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Bridgeport reported an increase in respiratory illnesses of 15 to 20 cases within the past 24 hours. At Bridgeport Hospital, Dr. Rock Ferrigno, chairman of emergency medicine, said doctors had “noticed increased respiratory illness related to the heat,” but added that he hadn’t see anything too serious. In general hospitals didn’t seem to be seeing a lot of problems. D’Antonio said the hospital is seeing lighter than normal activity for a heat wave, and Ferrigno concurred. Ferrigno even optimistically theorized that people in the area are getting better at staying out of extreme heat, or at least taking the proper precautions.

He asked that people remain vigilant as temps continued to hover around the 90s. “Someone who has asthma is definitely going to be at risk in this kind of weather,” he said. “And the very old and very young aren’t going to do well.”


Amanda Cuda