Working outside in hot temperatures, like 107 degrees on Thursday in Pratt, can really work up a sweat and that is a good thing.

Sweat is the body's natural way to cool down. With high temperatures the body produces a lot of sweat to reduce the body temperature.

However, if the body gets to a point where it can't sweat it could lead to heat stroke or in extreme cases even death, said Deb McGraw, Pratt County director of Public Health.

To help avoid overheating, try to avoid working in the hottest part of the day. While this is possible for some, many people have jobs that require them to work outside.

Those who have to work outside can reduce the risk of heat stroke by wearing loose fitting clothing, don't wear extra clothing, drinking plenty of fluids, work in the shade if possible and don't sit in a hot car, McGraw said.

Wearing a cold pack or damp handkerchief around the neck, putting the cold pack under the armpits or wetting down the clothing will also reduce body temperature.

Keeping water in a cooler is a good idea but let the water stand for just a bit when if first comes out of the ice. The body is already working hard to produce sweat and ice-cold water makes the body work harder, McGraw said.

As long as the body is sweating, it is cooling itself. But if the sweat stops, it's the first sign a person needs take action to cool down.

Drinking water is a quick first step to take as well as get out of the heat and into the shade or go indoors and enjoy some air conditioning.

Many people think that drinking a cold beer is a good way to beat the heat. But beer or any alcoholic drink actually makes the situation worse because it causes the body to urinate more often and that speeds up the loss of fluid.

The same is true for drinks like coffee, tea and soft drinks that contain caffeine.

If a body cannot get cool it starts to react with symptoms that include headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea. Other symptoms include rapid heartbeat, rapid breathing, red skin and muscle cramps.

If these symptoms are observed the person should lie down and place the feet higher than the head. Then call 911 because these symptoms can get worse and can even be fatal.

An overheated athlete should recover within 15 to 20 minutes. An average person should not take more than 20 minutes. If it is longer they should go to the emergency room, McGraw said.

Babies, children and the elderly are particularly vulnerable to over heating and dehydrate quickly.

For homes with no air conditioning or its too expensive to run the run the air conditioning an option is to get out of the house and go to the library and read a book or go to a movie or go to the senior center and play a game of pool, dominoes, checkers, cards or just visit.

Another option is to go shopping to get out of the heat.

Overheating in a house without air conditioning is also a real risk in extreme heat. Some people with limited means will do without medication to have air conditioning.

To help alleviate heat in a house close the blinds to block out the sunlight, place a tub of ice in front of a fan for cool air, run fans to help circulate the air.

If a family is having trouble paying the city bill, especially during the hot summer months, they need to contact the city at 672-6446 and speak with a representative about getting an extension.

The city likes to have late bills paid before the next bill is due but if a family is having problems they need to take the initiative.

"We will work with customers," said LuAnn Kramer, city clerk. "But they need to call the city and not wait until the last minute. That phone call is so important."