Skip to main content

OSDH Promotes Summer Heat Safety Tips

Monday, June 22, 2015
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:
Heat Exhaustion
  • Heavy sweating
  • Weakness
  • Cold, pale, clammy skin
  • Fast, weak pulse
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fainting
  • Heat Stroke
  • Body temperature greater than 103 degrees
  • Hot, red, dry or moist skin
  • Rapid and strong pulse
  • Unconsciousness
  •  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:
  • Stay in an air-conditioned place. If a person’s home is not air-conditioned, it is recommended to visit the mall or public library, or contact a local health department to see if there are any heat-relief shelters in the area.
  • Never leave anyone, especially children and the elderly, in a parked vehicle, even if the windows are cracked.
  • Increase your fluid intake to two to four glasses (16-32 ounces) of cool fluids every hour. If you are on water pills or restricted fluid limit, consult your physician first.
  • Avoid liquids that contain alcohol or large amounts of sugar; they cause the body to lose more fluid. Very cold drinks can cause stomach cramps and should be avoided as well.
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing as well as sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher and broad spectrum or UVA/UVB protection.
  • Check on the following at-risk populations at least twice a day. Closely monitor them for warning signs.
  • Infants and children
    • Persons over 65 years of age
    • Persons with a mental illness
    • Persons who are physically ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure
    • Outdoor workers
  • To receive more information on summer heat safety, contact the OSDH Injury Prevention Service at (405) 271-3430 or visit http://ips.health.ok.gov.
    Additional information on summer heat safety can be found on these websites:
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    http://www.cdc.gov/extremeheat/warning.html
    Occupational Safety and Health Administration
    https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/heatillness/3422_factsheet_en.pdf
    Last Modified on Oct 23, 2020
    Back to Top