Heat Sickness Awareness and Prevention
We all know that summer is upon us, so let’s go through another motion of the signs, symptoms, and prevention of Heat Illnesses. Not everyone around you may know this information, as just the other day there were three individuals that were found to have just moved to the area. One from Alaska, and two from Washington State, which are not big heat and humidity combination states like the Midwest!
So, Employees, Employers, Business Owners, and Supervisors/Managers, make a plan, educate your employees, do not assume that all of your employees know, take a moment and make a plan for consistent breaks (especially in industries and places that are not consistently climate controlled, i.e. Car Mechanics, etc.).
Sunburn: Although most people do not die from sunburn, the seriousness of this affliction depends upon its depth, size and location on the body. Sunburn is always more serious for infants and the elderly, as the pain, possible swelling, blisters, fever and headaches can be debilitating for those who cannot fend off such symptoms.
Usually, a cool shower and soap to remove any oils that may block pores and prevent the body from cooling naturally is the solution for a mild sunburn. Use natural aloe, as well, to help cool mild burns. If blisters develop, cover them with a sterile dressing and seek medical attention, as blisters from burns are prone to infection.
Heat Cramps: If you begin to experience muscle pain and/or spasms, usually in the legs or abdominal muscles, then the heat really is getting to you. Stop what you’re doing and move to a cooler location. You can slowly and lightly stretch the muscle and use gentle massage to relieve spasms. Take sips, not gulps, of up to half a glass of cool water every fifteen minutes and avoid caffeine and alcohol. If you begin to feel nauseated, seek medical attention immediately.
Heat Exhaustion: When you lose body fluids through exertion during hot weather, you’re asking for trouble. Heavy sweating is one sign that you may experience heat exhaustion as blood flow to the skin increases, causing blood flow to vital organs to decrease. This reversal of blood flow can result in mild shock. Symptoms include skin that is cool to the touch, despite heavy sweating, pale or flushed skin and a weak pulse. Fainting, nausea, dizziness, vomiting, fatigue and headaches also are all possible.
Heat Stroke: Also known as “sun stroke,” victims who experience this heat-related illness can die if not treated immediately. In the case of heat stroke, the victim’s temperature control system stops working. Therefore, no sweat is produced to help cool the body. Heat stroke symptoms include high body temperature, hot, red and dry skin, weak and rapid pulse and rapid and shallow breathing. Unlike heat exhaustion, you will not see sweat. The only treatment is to call 911 or another medical emergency service, or get the victim to a hospital immediately. The victim may or may not be unconscious, but without moving the victim to a cooler location and medical services, that victim may die. While you’re waiting for medical services, you can remove the victim’s clothing and wrap the person in cool, wet sheets to help reduce the body temperature.
DRINK LOTS OF WATER MOVE TO A COOLER AREA
WATCH YOUR CO-WORKERS
WATCH YOURSELF FOR SIGNS
MAKE A PLAN!