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By Mark Moran - Producer-Editor, Contact - News

 

Big Sky Connections - Excessive heat in western Montana has prompted health-care experts to warn people to take extra care in the sun. If people can't make it to an urgent-care facility, they can get 24/7 virtual care from many health-care providers through their insurance plan with no extra cost. Comments from Donna O’Shea, chief medical officer for population health, UnitedHealthcare

Click on the image above for the audio. Western Montana could see highs up to 105 degrees this week, according to the National Weather Service. (Adobe Stock)

Mark Moran

July 10, 2024 - Health care experts are warning people outdoors to use caution when engaging in sunny summertime activities. Medical service providers say virtual care is available when they are far from one of Montana's urban areas.

The National Weather Service has issued a heat advisory for parts of western Montana, where temperatures could climb to 105 degrees through the end of the week, creating dangerous conditions for Montanans who are not used to this kind of heat.

Donna O'Shea, chief medical Officer of population health for UnitedHealthcare, said it is important to pay attention to the danger signs.

"There is such a condition as overheating and heatstroke," O'Shea pointed out. "It's important to recognize those signs early; the signs of overheating do include headaches, nausea or dizziness. And it can be especially important to watch children because their internal cooling systems aren't fully developed yet. "

The excessive heat advisory is in place for western Montana through at least Friday. O'Shea pointed out many emergency care services are available virtually for no additional cost.

O'Shea reminded rural Montanans virtual care can be crucial in the state's remote areas, where people often cannot make it quickly to an urgent care facility, or for helping decide if they need care for less serious conditions. And it's available 24/7.

"If it's related to hydration or heat stroke, if you're able to keep fluids down, virtual care can help you determine how much, how long to wait before you go to the emergency room," O'Shea advised. "Same thing even for sunburns or bike safety. Do I need to go in? Do you think I need stitches? We don't think about that with virtual care."

O'Shea also reminded people to watch kids around water since drowning is the number one cause of death for children between the ages of one and four.

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