NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - This weekend you may want to make indoor plans. The heat index in New Orleans could approach 110 degrees. That can be especially dangerous for the elderly, babies and your pets.
A heat advisory is now in effect and it's forecast through early next week. LSU Health emergency medicine physician Dr. Jay Kaplan says the elderly can have complicating illnesses that decrease their ability to get rid of heat in their bodies. And, infants can't regulate their body temperature. So, you want to make sure they stay inside in the air conditioning.
When it comes to heat related illness, "the first thing is heat cramps, that's excess sweating where your muscles being to cramp up," said Kaplan. "The next step from heat cramps is heat exhaustion, typically people can get nauseated, they can get a headache, they can get light-headed, they can almost feel like they want to pass out."
Kaplan says usually if you go to a cool place and drink lots of fluids your symptoms will go away. If they last longer than an hour you need to seek medical care. And, watch out for heat stroke.
"Instead of seeing people who have cool, sweaty skin, what you see is people who have hot, dry skin. And, most importantly, the thing to watch out for is if people pass out or when people feel confused or when people can't take in fluids in order to cool their body down, in that circumstance the most important thing is to call 911," said Kaplan.
As long as the heat advisory is in effect, the Louisiana SPCA says you must bring your animals inside until 11 PM. If not, your pets could be seized and you could face an animal cruelty charge.
"We do try to make contact with either an owner or a resident in the location, if were not able to, we will seize those animals and we will be taking temperatures of those animals when we are seizing them and they may have to go to court to get those animals back," said the Louisiana SPCA's Client Care Supervisor, Beth Renfro.
Kaplan says no one should be left in a hot car, not even with the windows cracked. That goes for your pets too. He also offers this advice if you do go out: make sure it's not during the hottest part of the day, wear light, loose-fitting clothing, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunscreen. Also, make sure you stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids, not just water but also fluids with electrolytes like sports drinks.