JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Emergency room doctors in Jacksonville advise people to stay hydrated, as they've recently seen an unusual increase in the number of patients suffering from heat-related illnesses.
On Sunday, the heat was brutal on the field for the Jacksonville Jaguars game against the New England Patriots.
According to the NFL, the temperature on the field was 97 degrees at kickoff -- the hottest in Jags history. The NFL says the heat index on the field was 107, making Sunday's game the hottest NFL game played since 2003.
Though it may be mid-September, it's been feeling a lot like mid-July with heat indexes in the triple digits.
"Brutally hot," "scorching hot" and "muggy" were among the words Jacksonville residents used Monday to describe the weather the last several days.
It's that extreme heat and humidity that has led to an increase in heat-related illnesses at emergency rooms, according to health officials.
Darin Roark, the vice president of ambulatory and emergency services for Baptist Health, said emergency rooms at all their campuses have seen an increase in people needing treatment for heat-related illnesses.
"Dizziness, fatigue, excessive sweating and, basically, not feeling like themselves because of their overexertion in this unusually hot weather," Roark said.
It was so hot and uncomfortable that despite cooling buses, many fans at Sunday's game had to go to area emergency rooms.
According to the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department, 22 people were taken to the hospital from the Jags game and paramedics had contact with 84 people, but it's unclear how many of those had heat-related issues.
“We received a number of those patients and those patients were suffering from dizziness and losing consciousness, if you will, or feeling like they were going to lose consciousness," Roark said. "It can be very serious. It’s something to never take lightly. It could be deadly if not treated immediately.”
Daytime temperatures over the next seven days are expected to be in the upper 80s to low 90s. That’s why doctors are urging people to stay hydrated.
“Water, Gatorade, Powerade, Vitaminwaters or waters that have electrolytes in them are ideal to take, especially if you're going to be working outside," Roark said.
Roark added that it's good to pre-hydrate before going out in the heat.
If you exercise outdoors, he suggests you do so in the morning before sunrise or in the evening when temperatures are cooler.