Heat Deaths Now at 25 LDH Issues Warnings

On August 22, the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) reported  that they updated the total number of heat-related deaths to 25 for  the months of June, July and August after an extensive examination of data from Louisiana Vital Records. The previous total reported on August 4 was 16.

Twenty-two of the deaths were male; three were female. Data shows  men are often overrepresented in heat deaths because they are more likely to work outdoors. The age breakdown among individuals is as  follows: 30-49: 7, 50-64: 6, and 65+: 12.

Governor Edwards issued a state of emergency due to excessive heat  on August 14. There have been 4,766 heat-related emergency department visits in Louisiana since April 1. From 2010 to 2020, there  were an average of 2,700 emergency department visits annually,  according to an Office of Public Health (OPH) report released in April.

“Every life lost to a heat-related cause is tragic, and it is a reminder  that excessive heat can carry dangerous health consequences,” said  LDH Secretary Stephen Russo.

“It is critical that everyone in Louisiana take precautions during extreme heat events, especially workers in physically demanding occupations who are frequently outdoors. Heat-related illness and death are preventable, and I encourage Louisiana residents to know  the signs of heat-related illness, stay indoors with air conditioning if  possible, and remember to hydrate, rest and stay in the shade if they  must be outdoors. They should also check on their neighbors, and  loved ones, especially those who are elderly.”

LDH officials warn, “Heat stress can be fatal. In Louisiana, heat was  the most common cause of death during hurricanes Delta, Zeta,  Laura and Ida. Of the 65 deaths attributed to the four storms  collectively, 23 were due to extreme heat. “Know what to do about heat exhaustion. Heat exhaustion symptoms can include muscle pain  or spasms; cold, pale, clammy skin; tiredness or weakness and  dizziness; and headache and fainting. Move to a cool place and loosen your clothes, put a cool, wet cloth on your body or take a cool bath.  Sip on water, and seek medical attention if you’re throwing up and/or  if your symptoms last longer than an hour.

“Know what to do about heat stroke. Heat stroke symptoms can  include a high body temperature (103F or higher); hot, red, dry or  damp skin; fast, strong pulse; headache and dizziness; nausea and  confusion; and loss of consciousness (passing out). Call 911 right away: Heat stroke is a medical emergency. Move to a cool place and  loosen your clothes, put a cool, wet cloth on  your body or take a cool  bath. Do not drink anything. Be aware of your risk.

“Groups at higher risk of heatrelated illness include: Outdoor workers; Individuals with heart, lung and/or kidney disease, high  blood pressure, diabetes and obesity; Pregnant women; Older adults;  Athletes; Young children.

“Air conditioning is the strongest protection against heat-related  illness. Exposure to air conditioning even for a few hours a day will  reduce the risk of health-related illness. If your air conditioning is not working, go to a public place with electricity, like a library or mall, or  local heat-relief shelters. Follow the news and social media, including  LDH and local health departments, for locations. Drink plenty of fluids. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty. Avoid alcohol, caffeine and  sugary drinks. Stay in the shade. Limit outdoor activity to morning  and evening hours. Check on people who live alone, especially the elderly.” 



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *