Summer is here and the temperatures are rising. Extreme heat can lead to heat-related illness and even death caused by hyperthermia (overheating). In the United States, approximately 400 people die each year from hyperthermia and 200 additional deaths occur with heat as a contributing factor.
The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) reminds residents that heat-related illnesses can range from heat cramps and heat exhaustion to heatstroke. Heatstroke occurs when the body is unable to cool itself quickly enough resulting in severe damage to major organs and often death.
It’s important to recognize the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke and act quickly:
Cold, pale, clammy skin
Fast, weak pulse
Nausea and vomiting
Body temperature greater than 103 degrees
Hot, red, dry or moist skin
Rapid and strong pulse
A heat stroke is a medical emergency. If any signs are recognizable, call 911 immediately.
OSDH offers the following suggestions for preventing a heat-related illness:
Additional information on summer heat safety can be found on these websites: