17 hospitalized, 2 go into cardiac arrest at Ed Sheeran concert amid extreme heat

Extreme heat can increase the chances people experience heat exhaustion and heat stroke. There are ways to avoid heat-related illnesses.

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Over the weekend, Ed Sheeran played a concert at Pittsburgh’s Acrisure Stadium, and 17 people were hospitalized, many due to the heat.

“Pittsburgh Bureau of EMS personnel working during the Ed Sheeran concert received 37 calls for service, with 17 transports to the hospital,” according to a press release from Pittsburgh EMS. “The transports were for heat-related issues, some falls, one seizure, and two cardiac arrests.”

According to the statement, the two cardiac arrests involved people working at the show. A paramedic leaving the concert went into cardiac arrest and an employee dismantling the stage also experienced cardiac arrest.

Cardiac arrest can occur as a complication of heat stroke, according to the American Academy of Cardiology. A 2022 study in the journal CJC Open noted that as temperatures increase worldwide due to climate change, it's likely people will experience more stress on their cardiovascular system, and those with cardiovascular disease might be at increased risk for heat stroke.

Spending too much time outdoors in hot weather can cause someone to experience heat stroke, “the most serious heat-related illness,” says the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

When someone develops heat stroke, they can’t control their body’s temperature. In same cases, it can spike to more than 106 degrees in as little as 15 minutes, per the CDC. At the same time, a person in a heat stroke is no longer able to sweat, which normally helps lower body temperature. This combination can be deadly.

Symptoms of heat stroke, according to the CDC, include:

  • Confusion
  • Slurred speech
  • Coma
  • Hot, dry skin
  • Extreme sweating
  • Dangerously elevated body temperature

Heat stroke is considered an emergency, and the CDC and recommend calling 911 for suspected heat stroke to receive quick treatment. It can be fatal if not addressed promptly. also recommends that being aware of the other heat-related illnesses, such as heat cramps and heat exhaustion.

Signs of heat cramps include:

  • Pain or spasms in stomach, arms or legs

Signs of heat exhaustion include:

  • Profuse sweating
  • Loss of color
  • Cramping muscles
  • Exhaustion
  • Weakness
  • Rapid or slow pulse
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Vomiting

If you experience any of these symptoms, recommends moving to the shade or somewhere cool, shedding layers of clothes and slowly take small drinks of water or sports drinks.

To stay safe in the heat outdoors, recommends:  

  • Standing or sitting in the shade
  • Wearing hats with wide brims to shade the face
  • Drinking enough fluids to stay hydrated
  • Avoid outdoor exercising, especially in the middle of the day

Alcohol increases the risk of dehydration, according to the Cleveland Clinic, which is why experts urge people to avoid imbibing when spending time outside on hot days. Alcohol also works as a diuretic, meaning it causes people to urinate more often, which leads to fluid loss. Caffeine mixed with alcohol can boost one’s chance of becoming dehydrated. 

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