Summer has officially begun, and the hot temperatures and high humidity levels are right on schedule.  It is important for everyone to be aware, prepared, and take necessary precautions to prevent heat-related illnesses.  The following is important information to know to help avoid a heat-related illness.

Hazards.  Common heat-related illnesses include heat exhaustion, heat cramps, and heat stroke, all of which can lead to serious health emergencies including death.  Any one of these heat-related conditions can also increase the risk of serious injury resulting from loss of physical control including falls, contact with moving parts of machinery, and other injuries resulting from loss of coordination and lucid judgement.

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Causes. Heat-related illnesses occur when a person’s body cannot cool itself adequately.  High temperature in the work environment, insufficient replenishment of liquids, lack of acclimatization, proper nutrition, personal medical conditions, and failure to control exposure time all contribute to the hazard potential.

Prevention. Taking precautionary steps such as limiting time in the heat, drinking plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration, maintaining a proper balance of salt and minerals (electrolytes), and not working alone can help with avoiding most heat-related illnesses.

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Remedies.  When heat-related health effects are identified, all efforts possible need to begin immediately.  1.) Call 911 and report this as a Medical Emergency.  2.) After calling, take measures to bring the body temperature of the person down.  3.) Shelter the person from the sun, drench the person’s clothing with water (NOT ice water), fan his/her body for improvised evaporative cooling, monitor the condition of the person for first-aid measures (within the level of training achieved).

And please don’t forget the kids and pets. Inside of a car is NOT a safe place to be!

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Here are a few helpful links that go into more detail:

Heat Stress – CDC

NWS Heat Safety Tips


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