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EMSA warns about heat-related illnesses

Posted at 10:16 PM, Jun 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-17 07:20:14-04

TULSA, Okla. — Temperatures are rising and so is the risk of getting sick from the heat.

The hot weather is keeping EMSA busy. It has responded to more than 50 heat-related calls since Saturday, including 18 on Tuesday. A medical heat alert has been in effect for a week.

“You don’t want your day in the sun to cost you your life," said Adam Paluka, EMSA Chief Public Affairs Officer.

Paluka said some calls are for heat exhaustion, which can be treated quickly. But it gets even more dangerous if someone suffers a heat stroke, which is potentially deadly.

“A big warning sign for heat stroke is a loss of mental capabilities," Paluksa said. "So if somebody’s all of the sudden been outside for an hour and they can’t tell you their name, they can’t tell you who the president is, they can’t tell you what year it is, that’s when you really need to start getting medical attention immediately.”

Paluka said if you’re going to be outside this weekend, start hydrating now and wear light-colored and loose-fitting clothing. He suggests doing yard work early in the morning.

Another sign something is wrong is if you stop sweating.

“Your body needs to sweat to try to regulate its own internal temperature," Paluka said. "If you stop sweating, your body’s not going to be able to do that and that’s a big, big, big sign that you need to get help."

Cooling stations are open around the city for those who need a place to get out of the heat, including at John 3:16 Mission. Rev. Steve Whitaker, CEO and senior pastor at John 3:16 Mission said they’ve seen a significant increase in the numbers of people coming in to use it.

“It’s a really large room, it’s air-conditioned," Rev. Whitaker said. "They got nice, cold, filtered water on the wall. All the water they can take. Sometimes people stop by, fill up on their water containers and move on.”

Rev. Whitaker said while there are still CDC capacity restrictions in place, they’ll help anyone who needs some relief from the heat.

“If I’m at capacity and somebody’s outside my door and they’re distressed from the heat, I’m going to put more people in my building and give them a chance to cool off," Rev. Whitaker said.

Paluka said another good place to get out of the heat is somewhere like a store or a mall. He also said to avoid alcohol or caffeine when spending time outside and hydrate with water.

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