EMSA: 201 Patients Treated For Heat-Related Illness This Summer


Friday, July 22nd 2011, 5:27 pm
By: News On 6


Dee Duren, NewsOn6.com

TULSA, Oklahoma -- Tulsa paramedics have treated a record number of patients suffering from heat-related this summer. With seven more patients so far Friday, they have now treated 201 people since June 1.

"One of today's patients, a 49-year-old male, was classified as serious," said Captain Chris Stevens, EMSA spokesperson.

There have been five deaths in Oklahoma attributed to the heat, and eight more possible cases awaiting autopsies, according to the state medical examiner's office.

The relentless heat wave is expected to continue into next week, although News On 6 meteorologist Alan Crone said there is a slight possibility of some winds from the north Monday or Tuesday. If the wind direction changes, it will bring a slight chance of isolated storms.

"Any hint or hope of some change will be welcomed," Crone said. "But, there is no reason to bet the house, and we'll continue with the current forecast at this point."

Read Alan Crone's weather blog – and his musings about conserving water.

Stevens encourages people to remember to drink plenty of water, wear light colored, loose fitting clothing, seek shade, avoid caffeine, carbonation and alcohol.

Other things to remember:

  • Elderly people (that is, people aged 65 years and older) are more prone to heat stress than younger people for several reasons:
  • Elderly people do not adjust as well as young people to sudden changes in temperature.
  • They are more likely to have a chronic medical condition that changes normal body responses to heat.
  • They are more likely to take prescription medicines that impair the body's ability to regulate its temperature or that inhibit perspiration.

There is no "safe" amount of time kids can be kept in a hot car. How quickly a child becomes ill varies widely based on a number of conditions, including:

  • The child's hydration level to begin with
  • The temperature in the car (which can vary based on car interior, temperature outdoors, whether there is shade, etc.)
  • The child's weight
  • The child's overall health (diabetes and other chronic medical conditions can make a child less able to tolerate the heat), and
  • Any medications the child may be taking.

Three cooling stations are currently operational in Tulsa:

Tulsa County Social Services
2401 Charles Page Blvd, Tulsa
Operational hours: 8:30 a.m. - 8:30 p.m. 7 days a week 

Dennis R. Neill Equality Center
621 East 4th Street
Operational hours: Noon to 9 p.m. 7 days a week 

Salvation Army Center of Hope
102 N. Denver Avenue
Operational hours: open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

The Associated Press contributed to this article.