Warning Signs Of Heat Stress
Mild early warning signs of heat stress include: lack of energy, loss of appetite, and a slight feeling of nausea. Unless these symptoms persist, there’s usually no need to worry. Just try to get cool.
If you experience any of the following SERIOUS signs during hot weather, seek medical attention:
What Are The Effects Of Heat Stress
Heat stress can affect individuals in different ways, and some people are more susceptible to it than others.
Typical symptoms are:
- bakeries and catering kitchens
In these industries working in the heat may be the norm. For others it will be encountered more irregularly depending on the type of work being done and changes in the working environment, eg seasonal changes in outside air temperature can be a significant contributor to heat stress.
Other Tips During Hot Weather
To protect your health when temperatures are extremely high, remember to keep cool and use common sense. The following tips are important:
Replace Salt and Minerals
Heavy sweating removes necessary salt and minerals from the body. These must be replaced. If you must exercise, drink two to four glasses of cool, non-alcoholic fluids each hour. A sports beverage can replace the salt and minerals you lose in sweat. However, if you are on a low-salt diet, talk with your doctor before drinking a sports beverage or taking salt tablets.
Schedule Outdoor Activities Carefully
If you must be outdoors, try to limit your outdoor activity to morning and evening hours. Try to rest often in shady areas.
If you are not accustomed to working or exercising in a hot environment, start slowly and pick up the pace gradually. If exertion in the heat makes your heart pound and leaves you gasping for breath, STOP all activity. Get into a cool area or at least into the shade, and rest, especially if you become lightheaded, confused, weak, or faint.
Use a Buddy System
When working in the heat, monitor the condition of your co-workers and have someone do the same for you. Heat-induced illness can cause a person to become confused or lose consciousness. If you are 65 years of age or older, have a friend or relative call to check on you twice a day during a heat wave. If you know someone in this age group, check on them at least twice a day.
Do Not Leave People or Pets in Cars
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What Is The Outlook For People With Heat Exhaustion
Heat exhaustion symptoms usually go away after drinking fluids and resting in a cool place. Its essential to get to a cool place and replace fluids as soon as possible to prevent serious complications.
Untreated, heatstroke can result from heat exhaustion. Heatstroke is a serious, life-threatening condition. It can cause brain damage, organ failure and death.
What Is Heat Illness
Cal/OSHA investigations that in 2006 18% of the suspected victims of heat illness died, and 42% required hospitalization for more than 24 hours.
Cal/OSHA investigations showed that 52% of the suspected victims of heat illness died, and 32% required hospitalization for more than 24 hours.
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How Can You Stay Safe After A Heat Wave
- If the power is out, use flashlights or battery-powered lanterns instead of candles to reduce the risk of fires.
- Prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Do not use gasoline, propane, natural gas, or charcoal-burning devices inside a home, basement, garage, tent, or camper or even outside near an open window. Carbon monoxide can’t be seen or smelled, but it can kill you fast. If you start to feel sick, dizzy or weak, get to fresh air right away do not delay.
Tips to Stay Healthy
- When in doubt, throw it out! Throw out food that got wet or warm.
- Ask your healthcare provider or doctor about using refrigerated medicines that got warm.
Take Care of Yourself
- Its normal to have a lot of feelings.
- Eat healthy food and get enough sleep to help you deal with stress.
- You can contact the Disaster Distress Helpline for free if you need to talk to someone at 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746.
What Is Heat Stress
“Heat stress” is the “net heat load to which a worker may be exposed from the combined contributions of metabolic heat, environmental factors , and clothing requirements.” Metabolic heat is the heat produced by the body through chemical processes, exercise, hormone activity, digestion, etc. Other heat-related terms are defined at the end of this document in the Glossary of Terms.
Heat may come from many sources. For example:
- In foundries, steel mills, bakeries, smelters, glass factories, and furnaces, extremely hot or molten material is the main source of heat.
- In outdoor occupations, such as construction, road repair, open-pit mining and agriculture, summer sunshine is the main source of heat.
- In laundries, restaurant kitchens, and canneries, high humidity adds to the heat burden.
In all instances, the cause of heat stress is a working environment which can potentially overwhelm the body’s ability to deal with heat.
Most people feel comfortable when the air temperature is between 20Â°C and 27Â°C and when the relative humidity ranges from 35 to 60%. When air temperature or humidity is higher, people feel uncomfortable. Such situations do not cause harm as long as the body can adjust and cope with the additional heat. Very hot environments can overwhelm the body’s coping mechanisms leading to a variety of serious and possibly fatal conditions.
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Identify Who Is At Risk
Identify employees who are more susceptible to heat stress either because of an illness/condition or medication that may encourage the early onset of heat stress, eg those with heart conditions.
Advice may be needed from an occupational health professional or medical practitioner. Your risk assessment should already address risks to pregnant employees, but you may choose to review it when an employee tells you she is pregnant, to help you decide if you need to do any more to control the risks.
How Common Is Heat Exhaustion
Heat exhaustion and other types of heat illness are more common than you might think. Heat exhaustion from exercise happens more often on hot, humid days. Risk factors of heat exhaustion include:
- Age: Older people and young children have a higher chance of getting heat exhaustion. People over 65 and children under four cant regulate their body temperature as easily. They are also more likely to get dehydrated .
- Alcohol use: Dehydration can result from drinking excessive amounts of alcohol. Dehydration increases the risk of heat exhaustion. Alcohol also makes it difficult for you to control your body temperature.
- Lifestyle: Physical activity in a hot, humid environment puts you at a higher risk of heat illness. The risk increases if you wear heavy clothing or equipment. People who arent used to working in hot conditions have a higher chance of heat exhaustion.
- Medications: Side effects of some prescription drugs include vomiting, diarrhea and dehydration, which can lead to heat exhaustion. Diuretics to treat heart failure reduce the amount of fluid in your body and can cause dehydration. Chemotherapy drugs and beta blockers can also increase the risk of heat illness.
- Weight and general health: People who carry extra weight have a higher chance of heat exhaustion. Obesity and certain health conditions increase the risk.
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Help Workers Adjust To Hot Environments
The more time a worker has to acclimatize to a hot environment, the better their body handles the heat.
If workers have health problems or are not in good physical shape, they may need more time to adjust to hot environments.
For workers with no experience in hot conditions, there are two ways to help them tolerate the heat:
For workers withexperience in hot conditions, but who may have been ill or away from work for 9 or more days, the worker will need to gradually readjust to the heat.
You can find more information on heat acclimatization from The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health: Heat Stress Recommendations.
How Is Heat Exhaustion Diagnosed
Diagnosis of heat exhaustion is made by circumstantial evidence:
Laboratory tests are not routinely performed unless the health care professional is concerned about electrolyte imbalance or significant dehydration and kidney failure.
However, it is important for the health care professional to consider other diagnoses, since there are many infectious illnesses that accompany a fever, weakness, nausea and vomiting. This is especially the case in the elderly and very young. In these groups, heat exhaustion may be a diagnosis of exclusion, meaning that other more serious illnesses should be considered before settling on heat as the cause of the problem. History and physical examination may be all that is needed.
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What Are Heat Illnesses
A heat illness is one caused by high temperatures and humidity. You may get an illness while exercising or working in high heat and humidity. The four most common heat illnesses include:
- Heat rash , which is a stinging skin irritation that turns your skin red.
- Heat cramps, which are painful spasms in your muscles.
- Heat exhaustion, which is caused by too few fluids and long hours in high temperatures, causes heavy sweating, a fast and weak pulse and rapid breathing.
- Heat stroke, which is a life-threatening illness, happens when your temperatures rises above 106 degrees Fahrenheit quickly within minutes.
Your body sweats to keep itself cool. If temperatures and humidity are too high, sweating isnt effective enough.
Heat Exhaustion In Children
Cases of heat stroke spike at the end of June and into July each year and continue through August. Troy Smurawa, M.D., Director of Pediatric Sports Medicine at the Children’s Health Andrews Institute for Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine, explains that heat exhaustion and heat stroke in children can be extremely serious.
“It’s very important for parents, kids and athletes to be mindful of the heat,” says Dr. Smurawa. “Oftentimes they don’t recognize the effects of the heat and this can get them into trouble with heat illness.”
Dr. Smurawa shares the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke and ways to keep your child safe this summer.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Heat Exhaustion
Symptoms of heat exhaustion may develop slowly or appear suddenly. Before heat exhaustion symptoms appear, you may develop a red rash or heat cramps. These painful muscle cramps can affect any muscle, but they usually happen in the arms or legs.
Heat exhaustion symptoms may include:
- Dizziness, light-headedness, blurred vision and headache.
- Fever, usually over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Normal body temperature is 98 F.
- Severe or excessive sweating and cold, clammy skin.
- Swollen ankles or swelling in the feet and hands .
- Weak, fast heartbeat and low blood pressure when you stand up .
Heat Stroke In Athletes
Heat stroke in athletes is not as common as heat exhaustion but is life-threatening. Athletes are at a higher risk when they are participating in intense sports practices or camps between noon and 6 p.m., the hottest parts of the day. If your child is an athlete, make sure he or she:
- Takes frequent water breaks to rest and stay hydrated.
- Wears appropriate clothing that is light colored, lightweight and moisture wicking.
- Avoids outdoor exercise during peak sun hours, if possible.
Athletes are at a higher risk for heat exhaustion if they are poorly acclimatized to heat or if they have sickle cell trait . If you have concerns, talk to coaches and make sure they have a plan for hydration and emergencies.
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Heatstroke And Heat Exhaustion
Heatwaves can kill, so learn how to stay cool in hot weather and watch for the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Here’s what to look for and what you can do to help. Note that risk of heat related illness can increase with young children and elderly, pregnancy and those taking certain medications. Here’s what to look for and what you can do to help.
What is heat exhaustion?
Heat exhaustion happens when someone becomes dehydrated due to fluid loss from a hot environment and/or excessive physical activity
Heat exhaustion signs and symptoms
- Body temperature more than 40 degrees Celsius
- Muscle cramps
- Pale, cool, clammy skin at first, becoming flushed and red later
- A rapid, weak pulse.
Heat exhaustion treatment
- Help the person to lie down at total rest in a cool or shady area to monitor
- Remove excessive clothing and loosen any tight clothing
- Cool by fanning and moisten skin if possible
- If fully alert and responsive, give them frequent small drinks of water
- If muscle cramps occur, gently stretch the affected muscles to ease pain
- If unresponsive, place in the recovery position.
- If the person is unable to drink vomiting, unresponsive ,or does not improve call 000 for an ambulance
- Prepare to give CPR if necessary.
What is heat stroke?
Heat stroke signs and symptoms
- Typically no longer sweating.
- Red, hot and dry skin.
- A body temperature more than 40°C.
- A rapid, strong pulse.
Heat Cramps Exhaustion Stroke
During extremely hot and humid weather, your body’s ability to cool itself is challenged. When the body heats too rapidly to cool itself properly, or when too much fluid or salt is lost through dehydration or sweating, body temperature rises and you or someone you care about may experience a heat-related illness. It is important to know the symptoms of excessive heat exposure and the appropriate responses. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides a list of warning signs and symptoms of heat illness, and recommended first aid steps. Some of these symptoms and steps are listed below.
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The Difference Between Heat Exhaustion And Heat Stroke: When To Sweat It And Seek Care
Overheating is common for those who seek more time in the sun. However, heat exhaustion is a serious concern. If left untreated, it could result in a life-threatening situation known as a Heat Stroke. Heat Strokes occur when your body temperature rises to 103 degrees F or higher. The condition is most commonly experienced during the summer months. This is due to humidity and the sun being high when we spend more time outdoors.
Unsure of how to differentiate between heat exhaustion and a heat stroke? Read more to learn about the signs and symptoms of each and how to treat them fast! This action could help save your life or the life of someone you love.
What is the difference between heat exhaustion and heatstroke?
Both heat exhaustion and heat stroke are serious conditions. Heat exhaustion begins with general muscle weakness, sudden excessive sweating, nausea and vomiting, and possible fainting. A heat stroke is when your bodys internal temperature reaches over 103 degrees. You begin experiencing a loss or change of consciousness, agitated, unexplained behavior changes, hot, red, and dry skin. All of these symptoms should be taken seriously. Call your medical professionals immediately upon onset. According to Healthline, If you experience heat exhaustion for an extended period of time, heatstroke may occur. While many experience heat exhaustion symptoms before heat stroke, its not always the case.
Signs and Symptoms of Heatstroke:
How Does The Body Stay Cool
The process that helps your body keep a healthy core temperature is called thermoregulation. Thermoregulation is controlled by a region of your brain called the hypothalamus. It activates receptors in your skin and other organs that cause you to lose heat and keep a normal core temperature. When your body gets really hot, it relies on sweat evaporation to dissipate heat . If the heat entering your body is more than the rate of heat leaving your body, your core temperature will rise and youll be at risk for a heat-related illness.
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Types Of Heat Illness And Common Signs/symptoms
Heat illness affects the body, causing employees with mild symptoms to experience weakness, tiredness, and mental confusion, or even exhibit irritable or erratic behavior. Heat illness can also affect employees work performance and increase their risk of having accidents.
Employees should be encouraged never to discount any discomfort or symptoms they are experiencing when working in heat, after work or before the next workday. Heat illness symptoms can occur even after work has stopped. They should immediately report any problems they are experiencing to a supervisor and coworker, or a family member to seek prompt medical attention. Employees and supervisors must be fully trained on the prevention of heat illness before they are assigned to work in locations where they are at risk for heat illness.
Heat illness can be one or more of the following medical conditions including: heat rash, heat cramps, fainting, heat exhaustion, and heatstroke. The following symptoms are commonly associated with the different heat illness medical conditions.Given the variability in recognition and reporting of heat illness symptoms, the information listed below should be used only as a general guideline to train employees and supervisors.
Heat Rash – Heat rash is a skin irritation caused by excessive sweating and clogged pores during hot, humid weather.
Can I Prevent Heat Exhaustion
To prevent heat exhaustion, you should:
- Avoid overheating: If youre exercising or doing physical activity in hot weather, wear loose, breathable clothing. Take frequent breaks in the shade or another cool spot. When youre outside on a sunny day, wear a hat with a brim to protect yourself from the sun.
- Drink fluids: Stay hydrated by taking sips of water or a sports drink every 30 minutes or so. Dont wait until youre thirsty to drink. You can lower your chance of heat exhaustion by making sure your body has the fluid it needs.
- Know your risk: If you take diuretics or other medications that can lead to dehydration, talk to your provider about taking extra precautions in the heat. If youve had heat illness before, youre more likely to develop heat exhaustion.
- Stay safe in vehicles: The temperature inside a car can rise to dangerous levels very quickly. Never let kids play or wait in a parked car. Even if you leave the windows open, sitting in a car on a warm day can be deadly.
- Time your activities: On hot days, its a good idea to exercise early in the morning or late in the day, when temperatures are lower.
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