|Summer is here, and temperatures will continue to climb. Take reasonable precautions against the heat. Photo: Mr.TinDC|
Both indoor and outdoor workers can be at risk for heat stress, and humidity compounds the risk. It increases the heat index and the probability of sunstroke, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and fatigue. Extreme heat can cause illness and death as well.
To avoid heat stress over the summer:
- Drink plenty of water.
- Wear light, loose-fitting, breathable clothing.
- Take frequent short breaks in air conditioning or cool shade.
- Eat smaller meals before outdoor activity.
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol and large amounts of sugar.
- Be aware that some health conditions and medications can increase your susceptibility to heat stress.
- Be aware that some kinds of protective equipment such as respirators or work suits can increase heat stress.
Sometimes even with the best precautions, the heat can overwhelm you. Watch for clammy, moist skin, heavy sweating, extreme weakness or fatigue, headache, nausea, dizziness, muscle cramps, or flushed or pale complexion. Heat exhaustion victims should drink plenty of water and seek medical attention. During normal work hours, on-site victims should report to the Medical Office. Off hours, they should go to the Fire Department or call x3131.
Heat stroke causes hot, dry skin or profuse sweating, throbbing headache, unconsciousness, convulsions and vomiting. This condition is a medical emergency. If a heat stroke occurs off site, call 911. If a heat stroke occurs on site, call x3131. Cool the victim quickly with cooling water, fanning, and remove to a cool, shaded area.
—Caroline Hetfield, ANP-BC