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Take precautions against heat-related illnesses

July 13, 2012

Although the stifling temperatures have somewhat
subsided compared to the previous three weeks, the
potential for heat-related illness is still high.
Since June, when the ever-increasing record breaking
heat wave began, LeFlore County EMS has
treated more than 20 patients suffering from heat
cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. No heatrelated
fatalities have been recorded in the county
according to Dave Grovdahl, Director of LeFlore
County Emergency Medical Services.
A recent study released concluded 33 people died
from heat-related illnesses in 2011 in Oklahoma. The
victims ranged in age from 3-91. The majority were
white men and the peak time of death from heat was
during the first week of August.
According to the Oklahoma State Health
Department, elderly people and young children are
very susceptible to heat illnesses. Other factors that
can make a person less able to tolerate the high temperatures
is obesity, fever, heart disease, dehydration,
sunburn, alcohol use and the use of illicit drugs.
A few tips to remember that could very well save
your life before you brave the heat are: increase your
fluid intake to four glasses of cool fluids every hour;
avoid liquids containing alcohol or large amounts of
sugar; wear lightweight, light-colored loose-fitting
clothing and sunscreen and try to stay in an air-conditioned
place if possible.
In 2011, 49 children died from heat exposure in the
United States, according to the Injury Prevention
Service of OSDH. Never leave a child unattended in
a vehicle, even with the window slightly open. It is
against the law in Oklahoma.
If you have a child in a car seat, always remember
to place an item you intend to carry when you get out
of the car in the back seat. It is a reminder your child
is in the back seat and lessens the chance of accidentally
leaving your child unattended. OKDH also suggests
setting a reminder on your phone asking you
where your child is if you experience a schedule
change. This too can prevent accidental injury or
death. As the temperatures begin to rise again, officials
remind everyone not to become a statistic.
Respect the heat and keep cool and hydrated.

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