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Dangerous heat: Louisiana reports at least 16 deaths in recent months amid historically hot summer

1 month 2 weeks 6 days ago Tuesday, August 08 2023 Aug 8, 2023 August 08, 2023 4:54 PM August 08, 2023 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - Extreme heat warnings are not to be taken lightly. Since June 1, there have be 17 days of heat warnings. Tuesday marked a fifth day in a row for August.

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On Tuesday, the Louisiana Department of Health told WBRZ that 16 heat-related deaths were reported in June and July. That means Louisiana has already surpassed its average of 10 heat-related deaths each year, according to the state. 

"At least 16 people have died in June and July based on death certificates that have been filed with LDH. It is possible that additional heat-related fatalities will be reported later for these months," spokesperson Eli Melillo said.

The state was not able to provide specific info Tuesday on where those deaths were reported.

Last week, East Baton Rouge EMS told WBRZ they're responding to heat-related calls daily.

"We spoke on Friday, and we had 93 calls. Now we're up to 104. So yeah in just a couple of days we went up 11 more calls," EMS spokesperson Brad Harris said. 

While it's unfortunate, Harris says those numbers are hardly a surprise.

"There's people that live without air conditioning. We have parts of the state that are rural and don't have access to cooling places like we do in the city. So no it is not surprising," Harris said.

If you are going to tough out the heat — something officials warn against — and participate in outdoor activities, know when to take a break. 

"You think you're fine one minute, then the next you get up too fast. Or you move a certain way, your head starts spinning you get light headed. That could be a symptom of heat exhaustion. That's when it's a good idea to get some rest," Harris said.

It's also important to wear bright-colored, loose-fitting clothes, as dark colors trap heat.

If you start to feel cramps for more than an hour, then it's time to call 911.

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