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Local & Regional
6:55 pm
Sat July 11, 2009

The Heat Goes On!

Tulsa, OK – The second wave of extreme heat to hit the area this summer is landing Tulsans in the back of ambulances. By 2:30 p.m., EMSA paramedics had treated five patients Saturday with signs of heat-related illness. On Friday, EMSA paramedics cared for four such patients. Given the high number of individuals needing medical care after too much time in the heat, an EMSA Heat Alert has been issued for the remainder of Saturday and for Sunday, July 12.

Ages of patients treated on Saturday ranged from 12 to 80. All had spent time outdoors - participating in physical activities, gardening or attending community events - before falling ill. None of the patients suffered life-threatening injuries.

Individuals are urged to take extra precautions on EMSA Heat Alert days, including:

Reduce outdoor activity, particularly during the late morning and afternoon hours.

Limit alcohol and caffeine consumption, and up your water intake.

Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.

Spend as much time as possible in an air-conditioned environment; visit a library, indoor shopping mall, community center or other such venue if you don't have air-conditioning at home.

Play close attention to those at increased risk for heat-related illness, including young children (under age 4), senior citizens, people with chronic medical conditions such as heart disease or high blood pressure, and outdoor laborers.

Never, ever leave a child unattended in a vehicle.

In 2008, EMSA provided care to more than 100 individuals in the Tulsa area sickened after too much time in the heat. This summer is shaping up to be even worse; just last month, EMSA paramedics treated 95 patients with suspected heat-related illness.

When paramedics respond to five or more patients suffering from suspected heat-related illness in a 24-hour period, an EMSA Heat Alert will be issued if the weather pattern is expected to continue.