Start Preparing Now for Summer Heat Stress

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As spring comes to an end and summer moves in, the dangers of heat stress and heat exhaustion move in. Understanding heat illness makes a difference in the care and prevention of heat related issues. Heat stress occurs when the body temperature climbs above 100 degrees F.

Who is at risk?

  • Anyone who is doing physical labor in warm conditions
  • Anyone working in High humidity
  • Anyone who isn’t properly hydrated
  • Older workers
  • Anyone working in direct sunlight
  • Anyone working around equipment that gives off heat
  • Anyone who has had a previous problem with a heat illness
  • Certain people who are on certain medications
  • Anyone with high blood pressure
  • Anyone who is overweight
  • Anyone wearing clothing or PPE that retains heat

What are the symptoms?

Early stages:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Heavy sweating
  • Muscle cramps
  • Nausea or vomitting
  • Heat rash, especially on the upper chest and neck area or in the groin or elbow creases.

Later, extreme serious stages:

  • Confusion
  • Delirium
  • Dry skin (body has lost all moisture and isn’t sweating any more)
  • Seizures
  • Loss of consciousness

The best way to deal with heat related illnesses is to keep the body temperature down. There are several ways to do this:

  • Wear lightweight, light-color, breathable clothing.
  • Protect the skin from direct sunlight
  • Work in the cooler hours if possible
  • Provide shade
  • Drink lots of water (avoid caffeinated beverages or beverages with a lot of sugar or sweetners)
  • Don’t eat heavy meals until after the work is done.
  • Shield from equipment that gives off heat or move it away from the work area

Treating Heat Stress

  • Move the person to a shaded area
  • Loosen all clothing
  • Hydrate slowly (when the body is close to shut down it will not be able to absorb liquids properly. Too much to fast can do more harm than good)
  • If the later stages are present, immediately call 911

 

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