Heat related illnesses, such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke, are a very real threat in the New Orleans sun. Heat exhaustion is when the body overheats when you are too active in hot temperatures. Heat stroke is a more severe illness that can be life-threatening. Now is the perfect time to educate yourself on the symptoms and warning signs of heat exhaustion and stroke.

What are the symptoms of heat exhaustion?

Symptoms of heat exhaustion may include:

  • Temperature over 37.8°C (about 100°F)
  • Fast pulse
  • Moist skin, sweating
  • Muscle cramps and tenderness
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Lightheadedness
  • Confusion
  • Headaches

What are the symptoms of heat stroke?

Symptoms of heat stroke or sunstroke may include:

  • Temperature over 40.5° C (about 105° F)
  • Weakness, lightheadedness
  • Blurred vision
  • Confusion, delirium, unconsciousness (can progress to coma)
  • Seizures
  • No sweating
  • Pale, dry skin
  • Fast breathing, fast heartbeat

How can I prevent heat stroke or heat exhaustion?

There are steps you can take to avoid putting yourself or your loved ones in danger from the heat this summer:

  • Avoid prolonged exposure to high temperatures.
  • If you have to work or exercise under hot conditions, drink lots of fluids (preferably sports drinks, which contain both salt and sugar), and take frequent breaks in the shade.
  • If you have a risk factor for heat exhaustion or heat stroke, be careful participating in activities in hot weather. Take regular rests and drink lots of fluids.
  • During heat waves, try to spend time indoors with air conditioning or go to an air-conditioned shelter. This is especially important for older adults.