BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every year an average of about 658 people lose their lives to heat-related illnesses.

Considering the extreme summertime temperatures in Baton Rouge, it’s critical to be aware of the symptoms of heat exhaustion and how to avoid it.

Symptoms and treatment

Knowing how heat exhaustion affects the body and what to do to allay symptoms can be life-saving.

Signs of heat exhaustion are listed below:

  • Headache
  • Cold, pale, clammy skin
  • A fast and weak pulse
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Muscle cramps
  • Dizziness
  • Tiredness or weakness
  • Irritability
  • Thirst.
  • Heavy sweating
  • Elevated body temperature
  • Fainting or passing out

What to do if you suspect you’re suffering from heat exhaustion:

  • Move to a cool place
  • Loosen your clothing
  • Put cool wet cloths on your body or take a cool bath
  • Sip water
  • Get immediate medical help if you’re vomiting, if your symptoms worsen, or if they last for longer than one hour.

Heat-related illnesses are avoidable

During the hot summer months, it may be a good idea to stay in a cool air-conditioned place as much as possible.

Fans of outdoor activities can still enjoy fresh air and sunshine, but it’s advisable to do so while wearing lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing and choosing to get out at times when it’s coolest, such as morning and evening hours.

Additionally, while implementing a balanced exercise regimen into one’s schedule is always a good thing, during the hottest time of year in Louisiana it may be best to cut down on outdoor workouts.

When you choose to engage in outdoor exercise, the CDC recommends starting slowly and picking up the pace gradually. It adds that if exertion in the heat makes your heart pound and leaves you gasping for breath, that’s a warning sign from your body to stop all activity. At that point, it’s best to find a cool area or some shade, and rest, especially if you become lightheaded, confused, weak, or faint.

Summertime in Baton Rouge comes with a lot of perks. For one, it’s a time when the city becomes a venue for a host of outdoor concerts and other events.

It’s possible to enjoy each event to the fullest and avoid unnecessary health emergencies by keeping the CDC’s tips about heat-related illnesses in mind.