McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

June 21, 2012

Round two of a hot summer?

By Jeanne LeFlore
Staff Writer

McALESTER — With the drought From last summer and the warmer —than— normal winter this year, there is a good chance it’s going to be another hot summer. Several McAlester experts have offered some tips to help everyone from family members to family pets along with plants and even livestock have a more tolerable day in the sun.

Dr. Johnny Zellmer, MD. at McAlester Regional Health Center works in the emergency room. He said since beginning of the season, he has seen three patients with mild heat exhaustion.

“As temperatures rise, we expect to see more heat related illnesses,” Zellmer said.

“We encourage people to take precautions and avoid being out in the heat as much as possible and stay hydrated.”

Certain people, such as children and those over 65 need to use extra caution, according to McAlester physician Dr. Geo Chacko MD.

Chacko said children spend a great deal of time outdoors and are at a higher risk for hypothermia,

and senior citizens are also at a high risk also because of the slower time it takes for their body adjust temperature change.

Dr. Chacko said for children and seniors, “its a good a idea to drink plenty of water and stay indoors as much as possible.”

He said two of the most commons heat related issues are heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Heat exhaustion is often the result of physical activity in a hot or humid atmosphere while heat stroke is a much more serious and potentially life—threatening condition.

Common warning signs of heat stroke or heat exhaustion include headache, nausea, confusion, rapid pulse, heavy sweating, dry flushed skin, dizziness, faintness and coma, he said.

And he said with any sign of hypothermia the patient should go to the emergency room as soon as possible.

Protecting your eyes is also very important, according to McAlester Opthamologist Dr. Miranda Renfrow MD.

“Hats and sunglasses are essential,” Renfro said. “The most important thing as far eyes are concerned is to wear sunglasses with the highest UVA— UVB protection possible because exposure to the sun can cause changes that affect your retina that affect your central vision. It can also  cause as changes to the outer eye which can also affect vision. Adequate protection can help prevent skin cancer to the eyelid such basil cell and sqaumous cell carcinomas as well as and melanoma.”

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Contact Jeanne LeFlore at jleflore@mcalesternews.com.