Family warns others about dangerous heat after losing son

18-year-old went for a walk, body temp hit 108

LAWRENCE, Kan. - A Kansas mother is warning others about the dangers of extreme heat after losing her son.

Rachel Mikel told WDAF that she hopes her family’s tragedy can be a lesson for others.

“I remember looking at the nurse saying, 'Why?' He was just hot. He was just hot,’” Mikel said.

The Midwest has seen temperatures soar into triple digits recently, and the day 18-year-old Elijah went for a walk was no exception.

Elijah, who had autism, was with his caregiver on some nature trails along Clinton Lake in Lawrence last week.

The temperature that day was around 102, with a heat index near 110, according to WDAF.

When Elijah began to act strange, his caregiver knew he was in trouble. His body temperature had soared to 108 by the time medics arrived and he was taken to the hospital.

Doctors say heat exhaustion rapidly wears out the body's muscles, including the heart, so even though it looked as if Elijah was improving, his body had suffered.

“Being outside in the heat on days like this, it really is hard on the body. No matter what age you are, you can get overheated very quickly and the move from heat exhaustion to heat stroke can happen a whole lot faster than many people appreciate,” said. Dr. Steve Lauer, University of Kansas Health System Associate Chair of Pediatrics.

Doctors say critical signs of heat illness include excessive sweating and abnormal behaviors or tiredness. The moment these symptoms set in, you need to get out of the sun and drink water. Also, be sure to be hydrated before doing any sort of activity in the heat.

The Midwest is expected to see more high temperatures in the coming days.

Read more on this story from WDAF

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