SOUTH CAROLINA (WSAV) — As warm temperatures continue to impact the Lowcountry, there is growing concern in emergency rooms across the state.

In the most recent study from the agency for health care research and quality, South Carolina ranked fifth amongst all states in emergency visits directly related to heat exposure.

Dr. Douglas Swartz said it’s important to know the signs of a heat-related illness.

“Definitely noticing that you, yourself feel more tired, more fatigued, having brain fog, difficulty with concentration, lightheadedness that occur with changing positions which means going from a sitting to a standing position,” Swartz said.

Very young people and the elderly are two common age groups that are most affected by heat-related injuries. And, if it goes untreated, Swartz said there are serious consequences that could happen.

“These patients are going to be dehydrated, they’re going to be confused, with the heat stroke as well and extent when they require intubation, usually the muscles will start breaking down which is a medical term called rhabdomyolysis, that requires IV fluids and monitoring as well.”

You should always be monitoring heat index levels and humidity before going outside because practicing good weather safety may save you a trip to the ER.  

But the most important thing of all, you have to listen to your body when something is not right. Swartz said prevention is the best step of all.

“Removing yourself from the heat, going to a cool area, drinking plenty of water, non-caffeinated beverages just water.”