Preventing Heat-Related Illness

Published on Jul 18, 2019 at 09:45a.m.

Heat-related illness is when your body temperature rises to levels that can produce certain symptoms, effects and illness.  Sweating is one way the body deals with heat in the hot weather, but that isn’t always enough.  Most heat-related illnesses occur from being out in the heat too long or being in hot and poorly ventilated workspaces.  As a result, dehydration can also occur, which is a factor related to heat illness.  Other factors include, excessive exercising in humid or hot conditions.  Older adults, young children, overweight and those who are sickly or are immune-compromised are most at risk.

Some heat-related illnesses include:

  • Heatstroke - body temperature rises above 103 degrees F, with possible symptoms of dizziness, rapid or strong heart beat or pulse, and also possible dry skin

  • Heat Exhaustion – heavy sweating, rapid breathing and a fast, weak pulse (this illness may precede heatstroke)

  • Heat Cramps – muscle pains or spasms related to exercise and dehydration

  • Heat Rash – skin irritation from excessive sweating

Here are some tips to help avoid or limit to the possibility of heat-related illness:

  • Drink plenty of fluids, especially water
  • Replenish salts and minerals
  • Limit time in heat
  • Exercise earlier in day or later in day
  • Wear light-colored clothing/breathable fabric
  • If outdoors in the sun, wear a hat/sunglasses and sunscreen
  • If you feel light-headed, sit in the shade or out of the heat
  • Stay in cooler, air-conditioned and proper ventilated rooms

Here are some signs of dehydration:

  • Being thirsty
  • Infrequent urination
  • Darker than normal colored urine
  • Feeling tired, faint or dizzy
  • Dry skin

See below for some links related to heat-related illness:

https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/emergencypreparedness/guides/heat.html

https://www.osha.gov/Publications/osha3154.pdf

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/heatstress/

https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/warning.html

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