The hot temperatures are coming! As we all know, working in the heat puts an extra strain on your body. With some understanding of how the body reacts to heat, we can prevent heat-related disorders. Heat-related illness occurs when the body is unable to shed heat through sweating or circulatory changes.

Some symptoms of heat illness and heat stroke may include:

  • Headache,
  • Red or flushed,
  • Hot and dry skin (no sweating),
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness,

Extreme high body temperature (higher than 103 degrees F) can cause:

  • Nausea,
  • Irritability
  • Confusion, rapid & shallow breathing,
  • Elevated or lowered blood pressure,
  • Rapid & strong pulse,
  • Convulsions or unconsciousness

Heat-related illnesses that you should be aware of are:

Fatigue. Muscles get tired more quickly in the heat. Signs and symptoms of heat fatigue are impaired motor skills due to the lack of blood to provide the energy needed for peak performance. For first aid, rest in a cooler area before a more serious condition develops.

Fainting (heat collapse). Fainting can be the result when the brain doesn’t get an enough blood supply. Lay down in a cool area. Acclimatization to the heat reduces the chances for fainting. Moving around will help blood circulate and help prevent fainting.

Heat cramps. Muscles can develop painful cramps or spasms from salt imbalances in the body. Sweating and not replacing fluids can cause cramps. Drink fluids to replenish your body fluids. Don’t wait until you feel thirsty. Avoid beverages containing caffeine or alcohol; they promote more fluid loss through urination.

Heat exhaustion. Heat exhaustion may result when a large amount of body fluid has been lost through sweating. The symptoms may resemble the early signs of heat stroke. You become extremely weak or fatigued, giddy, nauseous, and can have a headache. You will still sweat, the skin is clammy and moist, and the body temperature remains at or near normal. Heat exhaustion can be treated by resting in a cool place and drinking plenty of fluids, but severe cases may require care for several days. Medical attention may be required.

Heat stroke (rare). This is a life threatening condition. It occurs when your body’s temperature regulatory system fails. In heat stroke, your skin is hot and dry. You will be mentally confused or delirious and can have convulsions or become unconscious. Immediate treatment by medical professionals can prevent brain damage or death. Until help arrives, you should be removed to a cool area, clothing should be soaked with water, and the body should be vigorously fanned to increase cooling. Ice should be placed under the armpits and in the groin area.  This allows the ice to cool the blood flow thereby reducing the body temperature faster. No person suspected of being ill from heat stroke should be left unattended.

Heat stress disorders are serious! So, please take this information to heart and know the symptoms of each disorder.

If you feel these symptoms or see someone around you experiencing them call 911 and get to a cool place!

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