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Heat blamed for more than a dozen deaths in Texas, Louisiana. Here's how to stay safe.

Extreme heat gripping parts of Texas
Extreme heat gripping parts of Texas 04:35

More than a dozen people across Texas and Louisiana have suffered heat-related deaths in recent days, as extreme temperatures are forecast to continue. 

Eleven of the Texas heat-related deaths happened in under two weeks in Webb County, which includes Laredo, Dr. Corinne Stern, the county's medial examiner, said. The dead ranged in age from 60 to 80 years old. 

"We don't see this in our county. Laredo knows heat, Webb County knows heat. And I think our county was caught a little off guard," Stern said during a commissioners' court meeting Tuesday. "These are unprecedented temperatures here due to this dome of high pressure."

Two others, a man and his 14-year-old stepson, died while hiking at Texas' Big Bend National Park, officials said. The teen collapsed during the hike and his stepdad died after leaving to get help. 

In Louisiana, two people have died of extreme heat in Caddo Parish, CBS affiliate KSLA reported. A 62-year-old woman died on June 21 and a 49-year-old man died Sunday. 

Across the U.S., an average of 702 heat-related deaths occur each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 67,000 people also visit emergency rooms annually because of heat. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that environmental heat exposure claimed the lives of 36 workers in 2021.

Failure to protect workers in extreme heat can lead to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) investigations. 

A Florida labor contractor faces $15,625 in proposed penalties after an employee died on his first day on the job, officials said Wednesday. The heat index on the day of the employee's death, which happened earlier in the year and not during the current heat dome, neared 90. The farmworker was found unresponsive in a shallow drainage ditch. 

The National Weather Service, OSHA and the CDC have offered safety tips: 

  • Never leave a child, disabled person or pet locked in a car
  • Wear lightweight, loose-fitting clothing. Light-colored clothing can also help. 
  • Stay in air-conditioned places as much as possible
  • Close window blinds and curtains
  • Limit your outdoor activity to when it's coolest, such as the morning and evening hours. Rest in shady areas
  • Avoid hot and heavy meals. Instead, eat light, cool, easy-to-digest foods, such as fruit or salads
  • Stay hydrated
  • Stay away from alcoholic and sugary drinks 
  • Take a cool bath or shower
  • Don't take salt tablets unless advised to do so by a doctor
  • Check weather forecasts to be prepared for heat 
  • People are urged to check on elderly relatives and neighbors during extreme temperatures  
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