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For Release: July 24, 2014 – Pamela Williams, Office of Communications – 405/271-5601

Summer Heat Safety

Summer is here and the temperatures are rising. Extreme heat can cause heat-related illness and even death. In the United States, approximately 400 people die each year from extreme heat and 200 additional deaths occur with heat as a contributing factor. Heat-related illness includes conditions resulting from hyperthermia. These conditions range from heat cramps and heat exhaustion to heatstroke. Heatstroke occurs when the body is unable to cool itself quickly enough.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) offers the following suggestions for preventing a heat-related illness:

  • Stay in an air-conditioned place. If your home is not air-conditioned, visit the mall or public library, or contact your local health department to see if there are any heat-relief shelters in your area.
  • NEVER leave anyone, especially children and the elderly, in a parked vehicle, even if the windows are cracked.
  • Increase your fluid intake to two to four glasses (16-32 ounces) of cool fluids every hour. If you are on water pills or restricted fluid limit, consult your physician first.
  • Avoid liquids that contain alcohol or large amounts of sugar; they cause you to lose more body fluid. Very cold drinks can cause stomach cramps and should be avoided as well.
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing as well as sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher and broad spectrum or UVA/UVB protection.
  • Check on the following at-risk populations at least twice a day. Closely monitor them for warning signs. 
    • Infants and children
    • People over 65 years of age
    • People with a mental illness
    • People who are physically ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure
    • Outdoor workers

To receive more information on summer heat safety, contact the OSDH Injury Prevention Service at (405) 271-3430 or visit http://ips.health.ok.gov.

Additional information on summer heat safety can be found on these websites:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Occupational Safety and Health Administration



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