Phoenix Using Ice Immersion to Treat Heat Strokes as They Face High Temps

( – A major heat wave has passed over the Southwest and caused skyrocketing temperatures for those in the area with temps hitting triple digits. Phoenix is America’s hottest city and they have come up with a new solution to combat the heat.

The Phoenix Fire Department is immersing heat stroke victims in ice on the way to the hospitals to treat them. This technique is called cold water immersion and it’s something similar to what military members and marathon runners do.

They started with demonstrations outside the department of Valleywise Health Medical Center as they packed ice cubes around a dummy body inside of a giant blue bag. Fire Capt. John Prato said that this can lower body temperature in minutes.

According to Prato, “Just last week we had a critical patient that we were able to bring back before we walked through the emergency room doors.” He continued, “That’s our goal — to improve patient survivability.”
This has become a popular method, which has prompted human immersion bags and ice to be available on all Phoenix Fire Department vehicles. Emergency responders are getting prepared as the Southwest, from Arizona to California, are expected to see “easily their hottest” weather since last year.
The areas are expecting to see temperatures that go up to one hundred and ten degrees, and the weather is expected to travel north and hit some of the Pacific Northwest.
Officials were caught by surprise to find that over six hundred deaths last year were heat-related in Arizona; the hottest period during that time last year was over thirty consecutive days with a temperature of one hundred and ten degrees.
Valleywise Health’s medical director of emergency medicine Dr. Paul Pugsley said, “We’ve been seeing a severe uptick in the past three years in cases of severe heat illness.” He said that forty percent of these people in these cases don’t survive.

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