Summer heat can be more than uncomfortable: it can be a threat to your health and safety. This is particularly if your employees’ work takes them outdoors for long periods of time, or if the warehouse, kitchen or workshop don’t have proper circulation or temperature control.
Older adults and younger children can also be easily, adversely affected by the heat. Whatever your age, do not let the summer heat get the best of you.
Feeling thirsty means your body is on the road to dehydration. Do not wait until you are already dehydrated, especially if you are working or exercising outside in extreme heat.
Signs of Heat exhaustion
Heat exhaustion occurs when a person cannot sweat enough to cool the body, usually the result of not drinking enough fluids in hot weather. It generally develops when a person is working, playing or exercising outside in extreme heat. Here are some symptoms:
- Dizziness, weakness, nausea, headache and vomiting
- Blurry vision
- Body temperature rising to 101 degrees Fahrenheit
- Sweaty skin
- Feeling hot and thirsty
- Difficulty speaking
A person suffering from heat exhaustion must move to a cool place and drink plenty of water.
Signs of Heat Stroke
Heat stroke is the result of untreated heat exhaustion. Here are some symptoms:
- Unawareness of heat and thirst
- Body temperature rising rapidly to above 101°F
- Confusion or delirium
- Loss of consciousness or seizure
Heat stroke is a serious medical emergency that must be treated quickly by a trained professional. Until help arrives, cool the person by placing ice on the neck, armpits and groin. If the person is awake and able to swallow, give him or her fluids.
Tips for Staying Cool
Below are some tips for staying safe in the heat:
- Make sure indoor work areas have proper air circulation with fans, air conditioning or open windows.
- Drink plenty of water: In hot weather, drink enough to quench your thirst. The average adult needs eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day and more during heat spells.
- Dress for the weather: When outside, wear lightweight clothing made of natural fabrics and a well-ventilated hat.
- Stay inside if possible: Do errands and outside chores early or late in the day.
- Eat light: Replace heavy or hot meals with lighter, refreshing foods.
- Think cool! Take a cool shower or apply a cold compress to your pulse points. Try spending time indoors at an air-conditioned mall or movie theater.
Patrick Boeheim, Risk Manager