Monday, April 21, 2014

Beat the Heat


With summer just around the corner, the weather is finally warming up and it’s important that we prepare for the heat that is coming. Heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke are all heat related emergencies that most people are uneducated about. During a heat wave, it’s important to know and understand the symptoms of heat related illnesses and what you should do should you see these symptoms in yourself or someone around you. 

The least threatening heat condition is called heat cramps. According to the Red Cross, heat cramps are muscular pains and spasms that usually occur in the legs or abdomen caused by exposure to high heat and humidity and loss of fluids and electrolytes. This is often an early sign that your body is struggling with the heat.  You should take immediate action to replenish your fluids and find a cooler place such as a shaded area until your body can fully recover. 

A more severe condition is known as heat exhaustion, this often occurs during strenuous activities and/or physical labor in high heat and humidity.  According to OSHA, signs of heat exhaustion are dizziness, headache, sweaty skin, fast heartbeat, nausea, general weakness, and cramps. If you see or feel any of these symptoms, immediately move the person with symptoms, whether it is yourself or someone else, to a cooler place, remove any tight clothing and apply wet towels to the skin. Make sure the person drinks small amounts of cool water and closely monitor their condition. If their condition worsens, contact medical personal immediately. 

The most severe heat related illness is heat stroke, also known as sunstroke. According to Red Cross, this is a life-threatening condition in which a person’s temperature control system stops working and the body is unable to cool itself. Signs of heat stroke include hot, red skin, changes in consciousness, vomiting, and high body temperature. Quickly move the person to a cooler place, using rapid cooling methods by applying ice wrapped in cloth to their body. Also, immediately call 9-1-1, as heat stroke is a life threatening condition. 

The dangers of overheating are often overlooked. During a heat wave you should do your best to stay is cool, shaded areas. However, if you have to work outdoors make sure to drink plenty of fluids, wear light loose fitting clothing, and take frequent breaks from the heat. 

Thank you for your time and attention.  Let’s make it safe this Monday.

Christopher Feigal
Demand Generation Specialist, Lift’n Buddy, a Southworth Company 

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