Heat-related injuries on the rise due to extreme temperatures

Health officials continue to see large numbers of residents going to the Emergency room with heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and extreme dehydration.
Published: Jul. 19, 2022 at 10:54 AM CDT
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LAWTON, Okla. (KSWO) - Local Emergency Medical Technicians had their hands full responding to heat-related calls over the weekend.

As health officials continue to see large numbers of residents going to the Emergency room with heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and extreme dehydration.

They are all giving the same warning: if people aren’t careful, this heat could be deadly.

Jamie Hennessee, a paramedic manager, said for the past week emergency services has seen an increase in heat related illnesses.

“A lot of what we have seen is extreme dehydration and exhaustion, just to the point people think that they’re okay. They’re outside perhaps they have been drinking water and thinking that they’re staying on top of it. When it’s just so hot, when it’s at the extreme levels that we’re experiencing right now, they just kind of get behind the curve on their hydration levels,” said Hennessee.

People without shelter, poor or no A-C and anyone spending long periods of time outdoors are at the greatest risk.

If you are struggling to cool off, head to a public place or reach out to friends and loved ones that have functional air conditioning.

If that’s not an option, Altus Communication Coordinator, Chris Riffle said the Community Center will now offer an alternative starting Tuesday, July 19.

“If you don’t have anywhere to go and you need to cool off you’re welcome between the hours of noon and eight tomorrow to come out to our community center on falcon road and just take a break, sit down for a while, get cooled off,” said Riffle.

Those that do have air conditioning should be mindful of how they use it. Keeping the temperature too cold puts extra stress on the electrical system, and can actually cause your air conditioner to malfunction.

“If it’s a hundred out, set your thermostat no lower than 70. If it’s 110 or 115, just subtract that 30 degrees,” said Riffle.

If you must spend time outside during high temperatures, make sure to take care of yourself while doing so.

“Drink water, stay in the shade as much as possible and make a plan. You know if you’re wanting to go for a hike that’s beautiful, that’s great, that’s good for your soul! Probably should do it really early in the morning, so that you’re not out in the middle of the heat during the day,” said Hennessee.

Residents should also be cautious of surface temperatures, which can increase exponentially in high temperatures and direct sunlight.

So, make sure to take extra caution to not burn your skin when grabbing things outside or walking barefoot on the pavement.

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