Heat Illness Symptoms and Prevention
Posted on Jul 21, 2016 by Kathy DeGlandon
Is It Hot Out There? Or, Is it Just Me? For us in South Louisiana, it’s the height of summer. And, with that comes high temperatures, high humidity and the potential for heat illness. To keep you safe in the heat of summer, here’s a list of heat illness symptoms and prevention tips. What is Heat Illness? The body will normally cool itself by sweating. During the summertime or in work condi ...
Is It Hot Out There? Or, Is it Just Me?
For us in South Louisiana, it’s the height of summer. And, with that comes high temperatures, high humidity and the potential for heat illness. To keep you safe in the heat of summer, here’s a list of heat illness symptoms and prevention tips.
What is Heat Illness?
The body will normally cool itself by sweating. During the summertime or in work conditions where temperatures are unusually hot, sweating may not cool the body sufficiently. If the body is not cooled properly and if your temperature rises to dangerous levels, then heat illnesses can occur. Heat illnesses range from a heat cramping, to heat exhaustion, and at the worst, heat stroke.
Symptoms of Heat Illnesses
Heat Cramps – heat cramps are painful spasms in the muscles. Cramping occurs when a person drinks a great deal of water but does not replenish the body’s salt lost during sweating.
Heat Exhaustion – signs of heat exhaustion are clammy, pale skin, excessive sweating, extreme fatigue, dizziness, fast pulse, rapid breathing, nausea and muscle cramps.
Sun/Heat Stroke – symptoms of heat stroke include lack of sweat, mental confusion, delirium, hot dry skin, extreme body temperature, rapid pulse and deep breathing, and dilated pupils.
Preventing Heat Illness
- Three Words – Water, Rest, Shade – drinking the proper amount of water, resting often and limiting your exposure to heat will help to prevent heat illness.
- Acclimatization – gradually increasing exposure periods to excessive heat will allow your body to become accustomed to it.
- Educate Yourself – Knowing the overall signs and symptoms to avoid heat illnesses. It’s also important to know how you react to excessive heat, as each person is different and will have different tolerances.
- Be Smart, Don’t Let Heat Illness Start – know what to do in a heat emergency to help others and do not ignore your symptoms to protect yourself.
Working in the heat is unavoidable for many, but being knowledgeable about heat illness can help you and those around you a trip to the emergency room.
For More Information, take a look at this infographic from the US Department of Health and Human Services,
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health