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How to mitigate heat-related illnesses

Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start to summer and daily temperatures as well as the number of those who will suffer heat-related emergencies is on the rise  an annual occurrence.

"People are outside and active and they are not in the habit of replacing their fluids. (Dehydration and the heat) overcomes them before they are aware of it," said Lorie Woodings, paramedic at the Comanche County Memorial Hospital EMS (emergency medical service) Station.

The danger of experiencing heat-related illnesses doesn't just affect those taking advantage of the leisure time activities including this weekend's Tour De Meers, the Roots Ball in Medicine Park or picnics; it is also affects those who work outdoors.

It is important for everyone to be familiar with the signs and symptoms of the three heat-related illnesses  heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stoke  and what to do in each case.

"Extreme heat causes more deaths than any other weather-related hazard; each year more than 65,000 people seek medical treatment for extreme heat exposure," according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),

Heat-related illnesses can be "life-threatening," said Marcy Hobson, paramedic at CCMH EMS Station, who has not seen any fatalities due to heat-related illnesses in her six years of work, but "I've seen some who have spent some time in the ICU (intensive care unit)."

The Lawton Constitution

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