Summertime means an increase in certain workplace safety concerns. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you may be at a higher risk of heat-related illnesses and injuries if you work outdoors or in the following positions:
- Construction worker
- Factory worker
- Bakery worker
You are also at greater risk if you are overweight, are at least 65 years old, have high blood pressure, have heart disease or take certain medications. Here is some information to help you understand heat stress and how you can stay safe while working this summer.
Heat stroke happens when your body cannot regulate its own temperature. Your temperature spikes rapidly and you fail to sweat properly. Signs of heat stroke include loss of consciousness, hot and dry skin, seizures and confusion. Heat stroke can result in permanent disability or death without emergency treatment. Before emergency responders arrive, moving to a cool area, removing outer clothing, using an ice bath and soaking clothes with cool water can help.
If you sweat excessively, your body may lose a lot of water and salt, resulting in heat exhaustion. Common symptoms include nausea, dizziness, headache, thirst, weakness and irritability. Going to a cool area, removing unnecessary clothing, using a cold compress and taking sips of cool water can help relieve heat exhaustion. Seeking prompt medical care is also important.
You may suffer from heat cramps if you partake in strenuous tasks and sweat a lot. Sweating depletes your moisture and salt levels, leading to painful muscle cramps. Along with cramps and pain, there may be muscle spasms. Drinking water, having a snack and consuming sports drinks can help relieve heat cramps.
Sweating excessively in humid and hot weather can lead to skin irritation. Heat rash looks like small blisters or a cluster of red pimples. Moving to a cooler work area and keeping the area dry can help relieve rashes.