Higher summer temps mean fun in the sun on weekends, but those scorching temperatures can be deadly for people who aren’t prepared for them. Heat exhaustion affects a wide variety of folks, and unfortunately, most aren’t prepared to handle it. Once the temps start to rise, one must be proactive to protect oneself from succumbing to heat exhaustion and know how to respond.
Who Is Susceptible?
Those most at risk are workers whose job requires them to be outdoors. These include construction workers, HVAC workers, roofers, landscapers and many others. However, there are other jobs, such as automobile sales people, that may seem like an indoor job but actually require time outdoors. Even traditional office workers can succumb to heat if they are required to exert themselves too much during times of warm weather. For example, moving boxes or supplies from storage sheds or walking long distances between buildings.
Preventing Heat Related Illnesses
Preventing heat exhaustion is simply a matter of remembering to take it easy during hot weather. Employees should avoid exerting themselves beyond the physical activity that they are accustomed to. Additionally, they should take frequent breaks in a shady, cool location, especially if they begin to feel weak. Employers can help by supplying adequate drinking water and sports drinks, which can help re-balance electrolytes lost through sweating. Workers such as landscapers and roofers who must be outside, should schedule work as early as possible to avoid the hottest times of the day.
Signs of Heat Exhaustion
Employers and workers must be watchful for signs that someone is experiencing heat exhaustion, as many individuals will continue to push themselves even when lightheaded or weak. Symptoms include headache, blurred vision, nausea, paleness, excessive sweating, a weak pulse and shallow breathing. In severe cases, the individual will pass out. If these symptoms occur, force the individual to stop working, move them to an indoor location with air conditioning and make them lay down. A cool drink of water or a sports drink should also be given in small sips. If symptoms don’t subside within 15 to 20 minutes, call the paramedics.