Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The ABC’s of Heatstroke (Part I – Prevention)

What is Heatstroke or Heat Exhaustion?  With the warm weather season upon us, we need to focus more on our bodies and how to stay healthy in the heat.  Heatstroke is one of the greatest risks when working outdoors in the high temperatures of summer.  Heatstroke can occur within 10 to 15 minutes of the body’s sweating mechanism failing and the body temperature rising. 
Heat exhaustion is a less intense form of heatstroke that can occur after prolonged exposure to high temperatures over a period of time.  People most prone to heat exhaustion include those that work outdoors in high temperatures. 
Signs and Symptoms of Heatstroke:
  • High body temperature (above 103 degrees orally)
  • Lack of sweating
  • Rapid, strong pulse
  • Throbbing headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Unconsciousness

Signs and Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion:
  • Heavy sweating
  • Paleness
  • Muscle cramps
  • Tiredness, weakness
  • Dizziness, headaches, fainting
  • Nausea, vomiting

How do you Prevent Heatstroke and Heat Exhaustion?
  • Wear loose fitting, light weight, light colored clothing
  • Wear sunscreen to prevent sunburn with reapplication intermittently
  • Take breaks in air conditioning (either indoors or in an air conditioned vehicle)
  • Drink plenty of fluids (16-32 ounces per hour)
  • Replace salt and minerals with sports drinks
  • Schedule outdoor work early in the day to avoid prolonged exposure during the hottest periods of the day
  • Use Buddy System to monitor condition of your co-workers
  • Use cooling towels to help regulate your body temperature  cooling towels
  • cooling headbands  cooling head bands

By Tara Bursey

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