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EMSA Calls First Heat Alert of Year

July 12, 2008

By Tulsa World, Okla.

Jul. 12–EMSA has called the first Heat Alert of the year for Saturday, and Tulsa-area residents are urged to take extra precautions against heat illness this weekend.

When Emergency Medical Services Authority ambulance crews respond to five or more heat-related medical calls in a 24-hour period and dangerously hot weather is expected to continue, an EMSA Heat Alert is issued to advise the public of the severity of the situation.

Rainy weather on Saturday could help keep temperatures down, but EMSA paramedics warn residents not to underestimate the tiring impact of humidity.

Symptoms of heat-related illness include muscle cramps, heavy perspiration, headache, nausea or vomiting, faintness and fatigue.

Anyone with such symptoms should move inside to a cool place and sip water. If symptoms don’t improve rapidly, call a doctor or 911 for emergency help, EMSA spokeswoman Tina Wells advised.

By 5 p.m. Friday, EMSA had provided care to five patients suffering from symptoms of heat-related illness.

The patients ranged in age from 29 to 86, and all had been involved in leisurely outdoor activities. Four of the five patients required treatment at hospitals.

To avoid heat-related illnesses,

paramedics urge people on EMSA Heat Alert days to take precautions, including:

Reducing outdoor activity;

Avoiding exercise during the heat of the day;

Staying well-hydrated by drinking plenty of water and limiting caffeinated beverages and alcohol, which can contribute to dehydration;

Wearing lightweight, light-colored clothing;

Visiting a library, shopping mall, community center or church if there is no air conditioning in the home.

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Copyright (c) 2008, Tulsa World, Okla.

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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