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Surviving the HEAT

Summer Heat

Surviving the Heat

With the summer in full swing and temperatures rising, Industrial Safety Training would like to offer some ideas to help keep you healthy and safe in regards to heat related illnesses. A heat-related illness occurs when the body is not able to regulate, or control its temperature, which can cause symptoms or signs of a heat related illness.

Most cases of heat illness occurs when a person is exercising, working, or engaging in an activity when the temperature and humidity are high. Under these conditions, the body’s temperature begins to rise. If left untreated, a heat illness can lead to serious complications, and even death. Most serious problems are avoidable, with training, knowing warning signs and systems, and treating early.  Here are some warning signs to keep in mind in regards to heat exhaustion and heat stroke:

Heat exhaustion – When the body loses water and salt, usually due to excessive sweating. Signs and symptoms include:

  • Sweating
  • Pale or moist skin
  • Muscle cramps (especially for those working or exercising outdoors in high temperatures)
  • Fatigue, weakness or exhaustion
  • Headache, dizziness or fainting
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Rapid heart rate

Uncontrolled heat exhaustion can evolve into heat stroke make sure to treat victims quickly:

  • Move victims to a shaded or air-conditioned area
  • Give water or a sports drink
  • Apply cool wet towels under the arms and between the legs

 

Heat stroke – The most serious form of heat illness. Heat stroke can cause blood disorders, damage to the heart, liver, kidneys, muscles, and nervous system. Heat stroke can lead to death if the person does not receive emergency medical treatment. Signs and symptoms include:

  • Body temperature above 104 degrees
  • Skin is flushed, dry and hot to the touch; sweating usually has stopped
  • Rapid breathing
  • Headache, dizziness, confusion or other signs of altered mental status
  • Convulsions or unresponsiveness

If you suspect heat stroke:

  • Call 911
  • Move the victim to a cool place without causing injury to yourself or the victim, get help if needed
  • Remove unnecessary clothing
  • Immediately cool the victim, preferably by immersing in cool water if available
  • If immersion in cool water is not possible, place the victim in a cool area and cover as much of the body as possible with cool, wet towels and continually pour cool water over them
  • Be ready to give CPR if needed

There are other heat related illnesses you should be aware of heat cramps, heat stress, and heat rash.  Here are some things to keep in mind if you are going to be working outside in high temperatures. 

  • Work shorter shifts if possible
  • Take a break to rest and cool down
  • Drink water every 15 to 20 minutes
  • Watch out for yourself, family, friends, and coworkers showing signs of a heat related illness
  • Suspect a heat related illness take action immediately

For more information about health and safety classes, contact Candy Hamblin with Industrial Safety Training at chamblin@uintaeducation.org or 307-789-5742 ext. 113.