How to tackle extreme heat

Pierre St-Jean
Helena Lopes/Unsplash

NEW ORLEANS, LA — Every year during summer, sometimes excessive or extreme heat can occur, especially during the daytime.

Here are some explanations and tips for handling extreme heat, according to the City of New Orleans.

Extreme Heat

Extreme heat is dangerous because it can push your body temperature beyond its limits. If your body can’t cool itself fast enough, permanent damage or even death can occur. When there’s a heat risk in New Orleans, the National Weather Service issues alerts.

​Heat Advisory: the forecasted heat index is higher than 108°F, or the forecasted temperature is higher than 103°F for one to two days.

Excessive Heat Warning: the forecasted heat index is higher than 113°F, or the forecasted temperature is higher than 105°F for at least two days

During extreme heat:

  • Stay cool

Stay inside in air conditioning.

Go to air-conditioned places like a library, NORDC rec center, or mall.

Stay out of the sun and wear a hat. Take breaks often.

Check on family, friends, and neighbors.

Don’t leave your pets outside or in a car.

  • Stay hydrated

Drink plenty of water, even if you don’t feel thirsty.

Avoid alcohol and sugary drinks.

Remind others to drink water.

  • Stay informed

Stay informed about weather conditions.

Know the symptoms of heat illness.

Symptoms and what you should do:


  • Heavy sweating: Move to a cooler location.
  • Weakness: Lie down and loosen your clothing.
  • Cold, pale, and clammy skin: Apply cool, wet cloths to as much of your body as possible.
  • Weak pulse: Sip water.
  • Fainting and vomiting: If you have vomited and it continues, seek medical attention immediately.


  • High body temperature (above 103°F): Call 911! — this is a medical emergency.
  • Hot, red, dry, or moist skin: Move the person to a cooler environment.
  • Rapid and strong pulse: Reduce the person’s body temperature with a cool cloth or even a bath.
  • Possible unconsciousness: Do not give fluids!.

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