The heat is on: Experts offer safety tips to beat the summer heat

Elisabeth Slay
The Shawnee News-Star

As Oklahoma expects the hottest week of the summer, local experts are offering many tips to help residents stay safe in these high temperatures and heat indexes.

According to Pottawatomie County Emergency Manager Chad Larman, for those who are required to work outside, they need to make sure they drink plenty of water and stay hydrated. He actually recommends this for everyone.

"Make sure and take breaks in the shade as often as possible. Wear loose, lightweight and light-colored clothing," he said. 

Everyone should also make sure they limit strenuous outdoor activities, Larman said, and if they do go outside, he added, they should make sure to stay in the shade and drink plenty of water.

Keep your eyes to the sky:Twin meteor showers could produce fireballs this week

The emergency manager also explained it's time to be cautious in hot cars and never leave children — or any pets — in a vehicle.

"Look before you Lock. Make sure even at home your vehicle is locked as kids like to get inside vehicles and play," Larman said. 

If families are looking for something to do during this heat wave, Larman recommends they visit places to remain cool such as the local library or mall. 

"Do not rely on a fan as your primary cooling device," Larman said. "Fans create air flow and a false sense of comfort, but do not reduce body temperature or prevent heat-related illnesses."

Forecasters say it's going to be a hot week in central Oklahoma, with experts offering safety tips to stay cool.

He also encourages people to check on their family members, senior citizens and neighbors. 

According to Dr. A.C. Husen, ER Physician at SSM Health St. Anthony Hospital — Shawnee, the best thing everyone can do to stay healthy is stay hydrated in order to prevent dehydration. 

"Dehydration results from excessive loss of fluids and/or not sufficiently replenishing fluids," Husen said. "It’s recommended to drink eight to ten eight-ounce glasses of water a day and an additional 16-32 ounces of water each hour during heavy exercise in a hot environment." 

The medical professional also suggests lightweight loose-fitting clothing to help stay cool in the hot weather. 

"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends wearing long-sleeved shirts when possible, a wide-brim hat and sunglasses to protect your skin and eyes from strong ultraviolet (UV) rays and sun exposure," Husen said. 

In addition, the physician explained people outside should apply sunscreen with a sun protection factor of 15 or more to prevent serious sunburns and suggests trying to escape the midday heat. 

"When possible, try to schedule outdoor activities and errands for a later time in the day or move the activity to a shaded area," Husen said. "If you’re planning to spend the day inside, it is best to be in an air-conditioned space."

More:I-40 narrows in Pottawatomie and Seminole counties this week

Lastly, Husen said it's important for people to be aware of the symptoms of heat exhaustion. 

"Symptoms of heat exhaustion can include headaches, rapid heartbeat, heavy sweating, nausea, dizziness, weakness and flushed skin," the doctor said. "If someone is experiencing these symptoms, move them to a cooler place, remove tight clothing and apply a wet cloth to the skin."

In addition to heat exhaustion, everyone should know the symptoms of heat stroke, which Husen said is a life-threatening illness. 

"Common symptoms include a high body temperature, low blood pressure, loss of consciousness and abnormal neurological symptoms. If someone is experiencing these signs, call 911 immediately, move the person to a cooler place and give them fluids," Husen said. 

Shawnee Splash Pad