A heat-related illness, such as heat exhaustion, heat cramps, or sun stroke, occurs when the body cannot cool itself sufficiently and blood rushes to the skin's surface. When less blood reaches your muscles, organs, and brain, it can lead to physical and mental health problems, or even death. Read the information below, and ask yourself if there are actions you can take to protect yourself.
Recognize the Hazards
Exposure to hot temperatures can cause heat-related exhaustion, cramps, and sun stroke. Working outside, exercising, and even sitting on a beach in hot conditions can cause heat-related issues.
Malfunctioning A/C units, wearing personal protective equipment, and operating equipment in hot conditions can lead to overheating and heat-related illnesses.
Obesity, alcohol consumption, and failing to drink enough water can lead to heat-related illnesses. Signs of dehydration include fatigue, cramps, thirst, dizziness, nausea, headaches, vomiting, dry lips and mouth, and feeling overheated.
Know the Defense
The Mayo Clinic recommends drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day. Eating fruits and vegetables can also provide additional hydration. If you exercise or exert yourself at work, be sure to replenish those fluids in addition to consuming the recommended amount of water.
Utilize Personal Protective Equipment
If you are working outside and are exposed to hot temperatures, wear sunscreen with a high sun protection factor (SPF). This can help protect against cancer-causing ultraviolet A and B rays. Also, wear a hat to protect your head and provide shade. If a portable fan is available, use it to cool yourself.
Be Attentive to Surroundings
Monitor weather forecasts for hot temperatures and heed air quality warnings. Plan ahead and pack sunscreen, protective clothing, and extra water. If available, take regular breaks in a shady area to lower your body temperature.
Obey Hazard Warning Signs
If the heat index is too high, plan accordingly and limit your exposure to hot conditions. Stay inside where it is cool and avoid prolonged activities that can lead to excessive sweating. For drivers, let the truck cool down before driving.
Note: These lists are not intended to be all-inclusive.
The information in this article is provided as a courtesy of Great West Casualty Company and is part of the Value-Driven® Company program. Value-Driven Company was created to help educate and inform insureds so they can make better decisions, build a culture that values safety, and manage risk more effectively. To see what additional resources Great West Casualty Company can provide for its insureds, please contact your safety representative, or click below to find an agent.
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