Heat-Related Illnesses (Prevention and Treatment)

Hot days can be a welcome relief, especially after the winter many of us experienced. Being safe is a top priority though. 

Injury Facts 2015 reported that in 2011, 587 people died in the U.S. from exposure to excessive heat. This could have been prevented. 

Excessive heat and humidity can lead to heat related illnesses: 
–  Heat rash
–  Heat cramps 
–  Heat exhaustion and 
–  Heat stroke (the most critical)

To help prevent heat related illnesses, we suggest that you: 
–  Avoid working outside during heat waves and during the hottest part of the day (11am to 3pm)
–  Seek shade
–  Stay inside with air conditioning or cooling fans
–  Drink plenty of water
–  Avoid caffeinated beverages and alcoholic beverages
–  Take frequent breaks
–  Wear appropriate clothing (loose fitting, light colored and light weight)
–  Apply sunscreen; sunburn impacts your body’s ability to cool down

Heat related illnesses can happen very quickly, especially to young children, older adults, overweight people, people who work outside, and people who are ill or on certain medications. Know the signs and monitor yourself and others. Watch for symptoms such as: 
–  High body temperature 
–  Headache 
–  Dizziness, weakness 
–  Nausea 
–  Mood changes or confusion 

How to respond to heat exhaustion and heat stroke:
–  Call 911 immediately, heat stroke is life-threatening.
–  Move the victim to a shady area.
–  Loosen tight or heavy clothing.
–  Cool the victim quickly by applying cool, wet cloths to their skin, and fan the person.

Stay safe this summer! For more information on treating heat-related illnesses, visit OSHA’s Heat-related Illnesses and First Aid

For help with safety or environmental compliance needs for your workplace, call Peter Mohlin – Environmental Health and Safety Specialist at (207) 591-7000 x41.