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Hospitals see spike in heat-related illness visits in Oregon

Orange illustration representing the hot summer sun and the environmental thermometer that marks a temperature of 45 degrees

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Oregon hospitals over the weekend saw a sharp increase in the number of people experiencing heat-related illnesses, according to the Oregon Health Authority.

Agency spokesperson Delia Hernández said 128 people visited Oregon hospitals for heat-related illnesses on Sunday, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported.

That compares with 24 heat-related hospital visits Friday and 56 such visits Saturday. The heat has broken state records, with Portland reaching 112 degrees on Sunday. That record was broken again Monday when temperatures reached 113 degrees.

The heat has been dangerous especially for people lacking shelter or working outdoors.

Hernández said the state health authority couldn’t immediately confirm whether anyone had died from the recent heat-related illnesses, or the severity of any of those illnesses.

Richard Leman, a public health expert with the Oregon Health Authority, among other things urged people to use fans or air conditioning, avoid hot food and heavy meals and to close windows and shades during the afternoon, the hottest part of the day.

“The sharp increase in heat-related illness visits is quite concerning,” he said. “Temperatures that get above 100 can be extremely dangerous if we don’t take care of ourselves.”