Heat-Related Illness: Data Dashboard and Guidance

View Heat-related Illness Data Dashboard

Heat-Related Illness Promotional Graphic

Heat can be dangerous. When it is hot outside, the body gets rid of excess heat by sweating and increasing blood flow to the skin. Humidity makes it harder for the body to cool itself. Heat-related illness (HRI or hyperthermia) happens when the body is unable to maintain a normal body temperature. 

Know signs of heat-related illness and what to do

Heat Stroke Heat Exhaustion Heat cramps

Know who is at risk of Heat-Related Illness

  • Older adults don't sweat as much as younger adults, and they are more likely to have chronic health conditions.
  • People with chronic health conditions such as heart or kidney disease, respiratory conditions, high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity.
  • Outdoor workers and some indoor workers who work in a hot, unairconditioned environment. Visit the Louisiana Occupational Heat-Related Illness Prevention Program for more information about workers and heat.
  • Athletes and people who exercise outside.
  • Unhoused individuals and people living in buildings with no or limited air conditioning
  • People who are socially isolated or have limited mobility.
  • Infants and young children are sensitive to the effects of high temperatures and rely on others to control their environments.
  • Pregnant women are under more bodily stress and are more likely to become dehydrated.

Protect yourself and others from heat-related illness

  • Stay informed: Keep an eye on weather forecasts and heat advisories so you know when extreme  heat is coming and how long it will last. Sign up for emergency alerts .
  • Stay in air-conditioned spaces. If your home is not air-conditioned, visit a cooling center, shopping mall,  or library. To find a cooling center in Orleans Parish call 311 or go to Nola Ready Website . For other areas of the state, news outlets are the best sources.
  • Contact Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) if you need help with home energy expenses such as bills, cooling equipment, or repairs.
  • Keep your home cool. Wait until nighttime to use appliances that get hot, like the oven, clothes dryer, and iron. Wash hot-water loads of laundry at night. Close your blinds or curtains during the day. Use window reflectors specifically designed to reflect heat back outside.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink water all day.  Don’t wait until you’re thirsty. Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and sugary drinks.
  • If you are outside, wear sunscreen, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses. Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, and light-colored clothing to reflect heat and sunlight.
  • Avoid outside activities during the hottest part of the day (usually 10 AM to 4PM)
  • Never leave children or pets alone in vehicles. Look before you lock!
  • Check your meds. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist to see if any of your medications affect your body’s ability to regulate temperature.
  • Look after each other. Check in on family, friends, and neighbors, especially the elderly, people who don't have  air conditioning and who spend much of their time alone.
  • Take extra precautions if you are working outside or in an unairconditioned space. Remember Water, Rest, and Shade. Drink 2 to 4 glasses (16–32 ounces) of water each hour and take frequent breaks in a shady or air-conditioned space.

Fact Sheets and Guidance Documents

Heat & Health Fact Sheet   Working in Extreme Heat     Heat & Health: What You Need To Know      Heat Illness Prevention: Water, Rest and Shade Heat Illness Employer’s Daily Checklist

Click Here For Entire Heat Toolkit

Publications & Reports

Useful Links






Notes on sources, definitions and limitations

Heat-related illnesses

Data source:

Data are from participating Louisiana (LA) Emergency Departments. Approximately 90% of Louisiana EDs provide data. Data are transmitted and processed via the National Syndromic Surveillance Program’s BioSense Platform. BioSense is a cloud-based platform that hosts the Electronic Surveillance System for the Early Notification of Community-based Epidemics, or ESSENCE, a web-based syndromic surveillance analysis system. Note that counts might change over time due to several factors: new updates and messages are continuously received, reporting facilities are onboarded and offboarded, and case query definitions are modified and refined.

Case definition:

Each case represents an ED visit for heat-related illness. An individual may have more than one ED visit. Records are selected using a built-in Essence query that searches the Chief Complaint (i.e., the patient’s stated reason for visit), Admit Reason (i.e., the provider’s noted reason for admission), and Discharge Diagnosis fields for text and ICD codes associated with heat exhaustion, heat exposure, heat cramps, heat stroke or hyperthermia. The Clinical Impression and Triage fields were added to the syndrome query to increase the number of cases captured.

Limitations:

While syndromic surveillance is a valuable near real-time data source for assessing the impacts of HRI in Louisiana, it is accompanied by some limitations that should be considered when interpreting the data. Not all ED visits in the state are included in the data analyzed (approximately 90% of EDs report data). Also, the amount of ED data received by the syndromic system may change over time due to the onboarding and off-boarding of facilities, changes in electronic health reporting systems and data outages for various reasons. This limitation should be considered when analyzing trends over time. Patients seen outside of EDs, such as at urgent care centers or by emergency medical services without transport to a hospital, are not captured. Records in ESSENCE are not verified using clinical standards to definitively classify them and so do not represent clinically confirmed diagnoses. Some cases are identified from pre-visit information. These fields may be inaccurately or incompletely reported which could result in misclassification of HRI ED visits. An example of this issue lies within the Chief Complaint category, as it relies on self-reporting and may provide ambiguous information. Data are retrieved and reported based on location of treatment facility, except for the number of HRI ED visits by parish, which is reported based on the patient’s parish of residence. While the facility location is a useful proxy for the patient’s location, it represents the location where the patient sought care which may differ from the location where the patient became ill.

Daily temperature estimates

Data Source:

Daily temperature estimates are created using nClimGrid-Daily. nClimGrid-Daily is a gridded (0.0417° or 5-km) dataset offering daily minimum, maximum, and average temperatures from 1951 to the near present. Data are maintained by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Centers for Environment Information (NCEI). For a detailed description of the dataset, please view “Daily High-Resolution Temperature and Precipitation Fields for the Contiguous United States from 1951 to Present” by Durre et al., (2022).

Data Definition:

Daily statewide and regional temperature estimates are created by averaging all grids within the state and regional boundaries based on Census TIGER/Line Shapefiles. The grids are created by an estimation algorithm using National Weather Service Cooperative Observer Program stations and Automated Surface Observing Systems stations. Both are National Weather Service and NCEI approved. The data are extensively quality-controlled.


Daily values represent prevailing conditions during the 24 hours ending during the morning on the observation day. For example, the estimates for April 1st represent conditions from the morning of March 31st ending during the morning of April 1st. The data generally have a latency of 1-3 days and preliminary estimates may be subject to change.  

Credit:

Code development and testing for temperature data were done by the Southern Climate Impacts Planning Program (https://www.southernclimate.org/).