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Preventing and treating heat exhaustion

Lawton_Emergency responders are sending out a message: too much fun in the sun could have deadly consequences.  This weekend, Lawton police confirmed that an elderly man died in his overheated car, and one of our 7News photographers caught a woman on tape, just seconds after she collapsed during a Memorial Day ceremony.

You can prevent heat exhaustion by drinking plenty of water, eating small meals, and wearing loose, light-colored clothing, because dark clothes hold the heat in.  However, if you've done all that and you're still suffering from the heat, here's what you should do, and more importantly, what you shouldn't do.

The heat is on, but that's unlikely to slow down many people this summer.  So if you feel yourself getting overheated, do not try to cool down fast by jumping into a pool or cold shower.  "If you feel like you're excessively hot, run a tub of lukewarm water, and get in that," said Kenneth Park, the CCMH Ambulance Manager.  "Then as you begin to cool down, you can add cooler water to it.  You don't want to suddenly immerse yourself in cold water.  That can cause seizures and then even become fatal."

What you should do is get indoors in the air conditioning, loosen your clothing, and drink plenty of water.  "Unless you feel like you're becoming nauseated," Park said.  "If you're becoming nauseated, then just take small sips of water."

When taking care of someone who is suffering from heat exhaustion, make sure their skin is cool and moist to the touch.  "What you're worried most about in a heat related injury, or heat related situation, is it turning to a heat stroke situation," said Fire Captain Mike McDaniel, "That can happen rapidly."

You'll know if a person may be suffering from a heat stroke when their skin turns warm and dry.  "Dial 911 immediately, and then begin to help them cool off," Park said.  "You can get a wet rag, placed on their forehead, loosen their clothing, and get them to sip on some water."

Also, alcohol makes you more sensitive to the heat -- so take caution if you're outside drinking for long periods of time..

Remember this summer, do not leave children or pets alone in a hot car.  The temperature inside can soar up to a deadly 140 degrees in less than five minutes.

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