NORMAN — Oklahoma’s hot summer days are on the way. The Cleveland County Health Department advises everyone to take precautions to protect their health against heat-related illnesses that may cause heat stroke or death.
“The elderly, infants and young children are at higher risk of heat-related illnesses. They may not be able to adjust to increases in air temperatures, or may take medications that decrease their ability to deal with heat,” said Cleveland County Health Department Administrative Director Keith Reed. “Heat precautions are also advised for persons with heart, lung or kidney problems and persons whose occupations require them to work outdoors.”
To reduce the potential for heat-related illnesses, the Cleveland County Health Department offers these prevention tips:
· Drink more fluids, regardless of your activity level. Don’t wait until you are thirsty to drink. (Warning: If your doctor generally limits the amount of fluid you drink or has prescribed “water pills,” ask how much you should drink while the weather is hot.)
· Don’t drink liquids that contain alcohol or large amounts of sugar; these actually cause you to lose more body fluid. Also, avoid very cold drinks, because they can cause stomach cramps.
· Stay indoors and, if at all possible, stay in an air-conditioned place. If your home does not have air conditioning, go to the shopping mall or public library. Even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat.
· Electric fans may provide comfort, but when the temperature is in the high 90s, fans will not prevent heat-related illness. Taking a cool shower or bath, or moving to an air-conditioned place is a much better way to cool off.
· Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
· Never leave any person or pets in a closed, parked vehicle.