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Triple-digit temperatures can be life-threatening. Here's how to keep yourself safe

Delaney Van

As extreme heat grips Oklahoma, it’s important to take steps to prevent heat exposure.

Triple-digit heat can be life-threatening — especially for those with a history of high-blood pressure, those who have heart, lung or kidney disease or are taking certain medications.

According to AARP, some heat exposure complications include:

  • Heavy sweating
  • Muscle cramps
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea  
  • Weak, but rapid pulse
  • Headaches 

It is recommended to move to cooler places to rest and drink a beverage for hydration when experiencing these first symptoms of heat exposure.
The CDC also suggests drinking one cup of water every 15 to 20 minutes when it’s hot. Some drinks, like those with caffeine and alcohol, should be avoided because they can cause dehydration.

If fluids are not replaced fast enough, a person then can be at risk of heatstroke. Those signs include: extremely high body temperature, red, hot and dry skin without sweating, throbbing heartache, confusion. Heat stroke can lead to brain damage and even death.

Other tips to combat the heat include preparing yourself by wearing sunscreen and lightweight, light-colored clothing, staying indoors during the hottest part of the day - or taking frequent rest breaks in cool places if you are outside.

You can also take a cool shower or bath, pull shades over windows, and limit the use of stoves and ovens.

You can call 2-1-1, Oklahoma’s free statewide information and referral service, if you need information about community and social services, including emergency shelters and local cooling centers.

This report was produced by the Oklahoma Public Media Exchange, a collaboration of public media organizations. Help support collaborative journalism by donating at the link at the top of this webpage.

Kateleigh Mills joined KOSU in March 2018, following her undergraduate degree completion from the University of Central Oklahoma in December 2017.
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