Heat stress, also known as heat-related illness, is a preventable illness that occurs when heat exposure exceeds the physiologic capacity to cool and the core body temperature rises. When this happens, a range of heat-related symptoms and conditions may develop. Heat stress illnesses include, but are not limited to, heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps, heat syncope, or heat rash. Anyone, regardless of age, sex, or health status may be at risk for heat stress illness especially workers who are exposed to extreme heat or work in hot environments.
According to the 2014 National Climate Assessment, increasing temperatures and the associated increase in frequency, intensity, and duration of extreme heat events is expected to affect public health. Periods of extreme heat are frequently associated with increases in hospitalizations, ED visits, and deaths for multiple causes in addition to heat stroke. Increases in the rates of hospital admission for heat stress are one potential impact of rising global temperatures. Tracking heat stress data can help document changes over place and time, monitor vulnerable areas, and evaluate the results of local climate-adaptation strategies.
To explore heat stress data, click here.
Tracking Heat Stress in Louisiana
The heat stress measures were developed following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Standards for Nationally Consistent Data and Measures (NCDMs) within the Environmental Public Health Tracking Network. The purpose of NCDMs is to ensure compatibility and comparability of data and measures useful for understanding the impact of our environment on our health. The Health Data Portal contains the following measures for deaths, emergency department visits, and hospitalizations with a primary diagnosis of heat stress:
For a detailed definition of each measure, please see the Glossary of Terms.