First heat-related death of 2008 reported in Shelby County - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Anna Marie Hartman

First heat-related death of 2008 reported in Shelby County

The Shelby County Medical Examiner has ruled a woman's death last month was due to heat.

Dr. Karen Chancellor said Shelby County's first heat-related death of 2008 was a 48-year-old woman who was working in a warehouse with no air conditioning.

"The heat exacerbated her underlying conditions and that resulted in her death," Chancellor said.

The woman died on May 30, moments after the she told a co-worker she was hot.
 
"She died suddenly on the job," Chancellor said. "Her only medical condition that we knew about was hypertension. We did find out that she was obese."

Last year, there were 17 heat-related deaths in Shelby County.  Heath officials say victims are typically the very young or the elderly, and they often have other health related problems.

"Obesity and high blood pressure are things we see a lot in this area," said Dr. Helen Morrow of the Shelby County Health Department. "A number of people have these conditions."

But even healthy children and adults need to take precautions, and be aware of the warning signs and symptoms.

Health officials said it is rare for a heat-related death to occur so early in the year, and they hope it's not a sign of a deadly summer ahead.


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