With soaring temperatures many outdoor workers face increased dangers due to heat stress.
Judy Fortin of CNN dispenses a quick dose of “heat illness” advice in her daily Health Minute (the link to the video may be found here, but may be become unavailable as the links scroll off the page, look under the heading “Hot Advice”).
Stay outside too long and you can risk cramps, exhaustion and heatstroke.
In the video Dr. Stephen Dawkins, occupational medicine specialist, says that heat related illnesses include
Indications of heat stroke are tiredness, weakness, or headache. The person has stopped sweating and the skin is dry. “… they really have nothing more to sweat,” says Dr. Dawkins. A person suffering from heat stroke requires immediate medical attention.
Heat exhaustion is indicated by tiredness, lethargy and profuse sweating. A person suffering from heat exhaustion may also show signs of disorientation. Recommended actions include getting out of the heat, rest, and replacing lost fluid by drinking water or electrolytic solutions such as Gatorade.
Heat cramps occur due to sweating while working in hot conditions. If the sweating causes an eloctrolytic imbalance due to the loss of salts such as sodium or potassium it can lead to muscle cramps. Recommended actions for heat cramps are similar to that of heat exhaustion.
To avoid heat related illness, Dr. Dawkins recommends, taking frequent breaks in a cool place, such as in a shade, and drinking fluids at least once an hour.
Heat Stroke is a serious medical condition and can be life threatening.
According to OSHA
Regardless of the worker’s protests, no employee suspected of being ill from heat stroke should be sent home or left unattended unless a physician has specifically approved such an order.
In the Heat Stress Quick Card, see below, OSHA recommends calling 911 at once if a person shows signs of heat-related illness.