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Homeless population hurting in heat

By Matthew Smith, Good Morning El Paso Weekend Anchor / Reporter
Published On: Jun 27 2013 10:13:25 PM CDT
Updated On: Jan 15 2014 10:12:26 PM CST

ABC-7s Matthew Smith reports.

EL PASO, Texas -

"Hot" and "hazy" were the two most-used words when talking about Thursday’s heat. At the KVIA studio, temperatures teased records at 112 degrees.

El Paso is used to hot temperatures, but it also means people forget the basics.

According to Dr. Robert Woolard, a professor with Texas Tech Health Sciences Center who works at University Medical Center, at least 13 people have been taken to the emergency room at UMC during the past month. Woolard points out those are the most severe cases, often people dealing with less severe weather-related illnesses end up heading to their general practioner. Often those that end up at UMC are suffering from heat stroke.

“At that point you can be unconscious, passed out from the heat itself,” said Woolard.

Across the city, in central El Paso, Rodriguez Olivo is waving a sign and hearing people honk horns. He admits he could go to a shelter, but refuses because he doesn’t like it there. The heat is an enemy he can do little to fight.

“Makes you feel bad, it makes you feel down and all of that,” said Olivo.

The sun was sweltering, and only a handful of cars stopped. Olivo said cars don’t stop anymore during the heat. On the positive side, he said you don’t need a blanket at night but the days are often unbearable.

“It’s not so good, not so good,” he said.

According to doctors, when you feel thirsty the warning signs of heat-related illnesses are already setting in. Soon sweat and lethargic feelings will follow. Getting out of the heat for a few minutes per hour can be a real help.  Mixing a sports drink in with daily water intake will help too.

Woolard said otherwise the only real help is adjusting your schedule to make sure that you’re not outside at peak temperature hours.

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