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Preventing Heat Exhaustion & Heat Stroke on the Job

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Summer heat and humidity can not only be uncomfortable, but it can also be a threat to your health, especially if you must work outside for extended periods of time. When it comes to preventing heat exhaustion and heat stroke on the job, keep the following tips in mind.

Preventing Heat Exhaustion

preventing heat exhaustionWhen you become unable to sweat enough to cool your body, heat exhaustion occurs, typically as a result of failing to drink enough fluids during hot weather. It is most likely to occur when you are playing, exercising, or working outside in the extreme heat. If you experience the following symptoms, you may be suffering from heat exhaustion:

  • Sweaty skin
  • Blurred vision
  • Feeling thirsty and hot
  • Dizziness, weakness, headache, nausea, and vomiting
  • Body temperature rising to 101 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Difficulty speaking

If you suspect that you’re suffering from heat exhaustion, move to a cool place immediately and drink plenty of water. Doing so will help you prevent heat exhaustion from progressing into heat stroke, which is a more severe condition.

How to Prevent Heat Stroke

When heat exhaustion goes untreated, heat stroke, which is characterized by the following symptoms, can occur:

  • Sweating ceases
  • Unawareness of heat and thirst
  • Delirium or confusion
  • Body temperature rising rapidly and exceeding 101 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Potential loss of consciousness or seizure

If you witness someone suffering from heat stroke, seek medical attention immediately, as this is a serious condition that must be treated by a trained professional. While waiting for help to arrive, place ice on the person’s armpits, neck and groin. If he/she is alert and able to swallow, try to give him/her a small glass of water every 15 minutes until help arrives.

3 Ways to Beat the Summer Heat

The extreme heat and humidity we are accustomed to in the summer can be a dangerous combination. Use the following tips to stay cool and hydrated throughout the summer season:

  • Forego soda and other caffeinated beverages, opting for water instead. Drink an adequate amount of water – enough to quench your thirst in the extreme heat. On average, adults need eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day, and this amount increases in the summer heat.
  • Eat light, replacing heavy, hot meals with lighter, refreshing options. Be sure to eat smaller meals before working or performing any rigorous activity.
  • Dress appropriately. When not required to wear a uniform to work outside, opt for lightweight clothing.

For many people, summer is highly anticipated here in New Hampshire after our long winter season, but when the temperature rises too high, it can jeopardize your health. Enjoy the summer weather, but in the extreme heat, remember to stay especially hydrated and aware of the symptoms of heat-related illnesses!

At Eaton & Berube, your safety is important to us. For additional safety tips and useful resources, please subscribe to our blog or contact us.

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