Danger Signs to Watch for in this Oppressive Louisiana Heat
Here in the Arklatex, we certainly aren't unfamiliar with really hot days. But the extreme high temperatures usually don't show up this early in the year. Richard Lewelling, meteorologist with the Weather Channel, told KEEL News Shreveport's hottest day of the year usually falls on August 12th. But we're a long way from August 12th.
As of Wednesday, there have already been three reported heat-related deaths here in the Arklatex... two in Caddo parish, and one in Marshall, Texas. But there are things that you can do to help prevent becoming a victim of heat-related illness.
Caddo Parish corononer, Dr. Todd Thoma, told KEEL News on Wednesday, there are differences between Heat Stroke, and Heat Exhaustion, and gave signs to watch out for to prevent becoming a victim to a heat-related illness.
It's a spectrum of diseases, it can run anywhere from prickly heat, to heat exhaustion, to heat stroke. Needless to say, heat exhaustion and heat stroke are the really bad ones. Heat exhaustion is... people feel like they have the flu. They have headaches, body-aches, muscle cramps... they start to get nauseated and fatigued. That's an early warning sign that you're having a heat related illness. In situations like that you need to take care of yourself and fix the problem. You need to be in a cool, well ventilated space with a fan going... you can wet down your clothes or put cool clothes on. You can get in a cool bath of water. You want to wear light, cotton clothes and make sure ceiling fans or box-fans are on.
When asked about heat-stroke, Dr. Thoma said:
Heat stroke is a sudden medical emergency, that's the one that ends up killing people. What happens is, your body can no longer dissipate the heat and the heat rapidly rises up to 106, 107, 108 degrees. A lot of times, you may not have a lot of warning signs when that is happening. People have a sudden loss of consciousness, they may have seizures, they pass out... that's a medical emergency and most of the time you're relegated to other people helping you. You call 911, you cool the body down, put some cool water on them, you get them out of the direct heat while you're waiting on the medical people to arrive. That's the one that's a dire emergency. That has to go to the emergency department to get the temperature lowered very quickly or people die.
Different Heat Relate Illnesses & What to Do
According to CDC.gov, heat related illnesses are preventable.
If you have an elderly neighbor that lives nearby, be sure to check on them regularly to make sure they are coping with the heat. Also, remember your pets can also suffer in this dangerous heat. Make sure they have fresh, clean water, and that they have shade or a cool place to be able to escape from the heat.
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