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Experts discuss overheating prevention

(Source: KSWO) (Source: KSWO)

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - Summer 2017 may not have been as hot as other Southwest Oklahoma summers, but experts still spoke out on outdoor safety ahead of a stretch of triple digit temperature days. 

Local firefighters said they've responded to more cases of heat exhaustion in July alone than they did in May and June combined.


The first symptoms of overheating are heat cramps, which are massive cramps in the legs. After that, an overheating person's body temperature surpasses 100 degrees and they become pale. Passing those stages puts a person at risk of heat stroke, the most dangerous of the three symptoms. 

Lawton Firefighter Joshua Brown said that people can avoid overheating by knowing their limits and wearing light-colored clothing while in the sun.

"Your bodies are not designed to cope with this prolonged exposure to the heat and so giving it that break for it to catch up could be the difference between something detrimental and not so much," Brown said.

He added that people should strive to drink plenty of water, because lack of fluids could cause an imbalance in the body. Brown adds that by the time people notice thirst, they may already be dehydrated.

Comanche County Memorial Hospital Emergency Physician Dr. William Bickell said they've treated multiple people because they were overheated. 

Dr. Bickell said he's seen people of all ages and physical condition sent to the hospital due to the heat.

"It's important that even if you're in great shape that when you're starting out you limit your time in the heat that you take a lot of breaks," Dr. Bickell said.

Getting over heated could be much worse than a trip to the hospital, though.

"If you got medical conditions, it can be deadly and even in the absence of medical conditions if it proceeds from heat exhaustion to heat stroke that is a deadly condition," Dr. Bickell said.

Brown said being at the pool or playing in water may help prevent overheating, but it could also keep people from recognizing other dangers from the heat. 

He said that keeping internal and external temperatures down won't prevent dehydration.

Bickell said that anyone who must go outside in the heat should keep it to a minimum, with plenty of breaks. He also advised saving yard work for the morning or the evening, before things get to hot

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