Around Louisiana: Northern
STRIKING AT HEAT STROKES
Shreveport health care workers were recently given a training session at the LSU Health Shreveport Emergency Room that will greatly improve the chances of patients surviving life-threatening heat strokes. In the merciless, humid summer heat of Louisiana, without proper precaution, heat strokes can strike at any time, and imminent care is essential to ensure survival. According to a story by Melody Brumble of the Shreveport Times, the health professionals were trained in the use of a new cooling suit, developed by Dr. Robert J. Freedman Jr., a cardiologist from Alexandria. Heat stroke victims are placed within an inflatable suit made of plastic. Cold water is then pumped through the suit; exiting with the water is a large chunk of the contained heat that’s accumulated in the victim’s body.
Chad Lester, a nurse at LSU Health Shreveport, served as a flight nurse in Afghanistan and Iraq, where temperatures skyrocketed to 130 and 110 degrees, respectively. He reports that the medical and nursing staffs at LSU Health Sciences Center see approximately six heat stroke cases annually. Louisiana reported six heat-deaths in 2010, with an average of 115 a year between 1981 and 2010.
“The longer you go with heat stroke,” says Lester, “the more damage you’re doing. You’re basically cooking yourself.”
The purpose of the cooling suit is to lower body temperature by at least six degrees in one half-hour.
At special risk are people who endure the summer months without air-conditioning in their homes, the elderly and the very young. Chronic illnesses and some medications can also raise the risk factor for a heat stroke. Anyone who works outdoors, or engages in outdoor recreation during the summer months, should take frequent breaks, find a cool air-conditioned spot and drink plenty of fluids of the non-alcoholic persuasion. Alcohol will only dehydrate you further.
Dr. James Cotter III, Medical Director of Emergency Services at Christus Health Shreveport-Bossier, emphasizes the importance of being aware of the heat and drinking large amounts of water or juices regularly when the thermometer is on the rise.
“There isn’t an exact temperature in which heat illnesses affect the body,” says Cotter. “Prevention of heat-related illnesses is the key.”
If you suspect anyone is having a heat-related crisis, it’s best to get them to the nearest emergency room as quickly as possible. Always check on the elderly, the young and definitely the un-air-conditioned.
FORK IN THE ROAD
SUMMER AND SMOKEHOUSES IN RUSTON
Dowling’s Smokehouse in Ruston is another jewel in the crown that adds even more appeal to the charm of this quiet college town. Smokehouses in summer along with Ruston peaches: Who could have any complaints?
In my opinion, my father produced the best barbecue I ever ate. Working from a simple brazier in our driveway, his barbecue was a perfect balance of just enough outward charring with smoky, tender meat on the inside. None could top him. But the smoked chicken at Dowling’s comes pretty darn close to his perfect combination of smoked-to-the-bone tenderness and flavor. The ribs are perfect with their black spicy sealant of barbecued skin encasing meat that melts from the bone onto your tongue, leaving behind perfumed, savory flavors. The “baked” potatoes have actually been slow-smoked for hours; their wonderful earthy flavors are mixed with sweet smokiness and served with butter, chives, cheese and chopped smoked brisket, ham, turkey or sausage. It’s impossible not to enjoy a half-pound of lean beef brisket that’s been smoking for 14 hours. Even the cheese is delightfully smoked. You have a choice of sandwiches made from pulled rib meat, pulled chicken or pork, or sausage on sourdough or jalapeno cheese bread. Classic barbecue sides such as Meaty Baked Beans, Classic Yellow Potato Salad and Creamy Cole Slaw tells you emphatically that Dowling’s Smokehouse understands the nuances of the barbecue connoisseur.
Ruston peaches or apples fill the delicious Ethel Stone’s Homemade Fried Fruit Pies that are offered for dessert.