August 6, 2020

August in Louisiana: Beat the Heat!

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We all know summer in Louisiana means hot, hot, hot. August tends to be the peak, bringing daily temperatures of 90+ degrees Fahrenheit, with up to 100 percent humidity. But when spending time outdoors, either for work or play, beware of heat-related health hazards such as heat rash, cramps, exhaustion, and — in extreme cases — heatstroke.

Heat-related injuries range from minor to severe, depending on exposure. Once the mercury hits 90 degrees Fahrenheit, sun soakers, athletes, and those that work outdoors, among others, are at risk of heat cramps or heat exhaustion, and over 105 degrees can be life-threatening.

Below are common symptoms and treatments for various heat-related conditions.

Sunburn

  • Symptoms: Red skin, pain, blisters, or — in extreme cases — fever and headache
  • Treatment: Apply approved ointments for mild cases; seek medical attention in severe case

Heat Rash

  • Symptoms: “Prickly,” painful skin rash caused by plugged sweat ducts
  • Treatment: Rest in a cool place, bathe in cool water, and dry skin thoroughly

Heat Cramps

  • Symptoms: Painful spasms in the legs or abdomen, often accompanied by heavy sweating
  • Treatment: Apply firm pressure or gently massage the cramped muscle; drink plenty of water

Heat Exhaustion

  • Symptoms: Sweating, clammy skin, weakness, fatigue, slightly elevated body temperature, headache, disorientation
  • Treatment: Move to a cool place (preferably with a fan or AC), apply a cool cloth, drink fluids, and consider seeking medical attention if symptoms do not improve

Heatstroke

  • Symptoms: Hot, dry, red or spotted skin, extremely high body temperature, confusion, convulsion, loss of consciousness
  • Treatment: Move to a cool place and immediately seek medical attention  

Ways to reduce the risk of heat stress include staying hydrated (with water, not beer!), dressing in light colors and loose-fitting clothing, taking frequent breaks from the heat, and watching for symptoms of heat-related injuries.

For more information on the causes, symptoms, and treatment of heat stress — as well as how to prevent it — check out our one-page tip sheet here.

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