Tips for Dealing with the Heat

The beginning games of the 2017 World Series faced record-breaking heat, close to 100 degrees. While most of us should be enjoying fall weather, this is a reminder to be prepared for extreme weather; hot or cold.

If you one of those facing the triple digits on the West Coast right now, or if you need a refresher on how to handle the next summer heat, below I’ve listed some symptoms to watch out for and some treatments, as well as tips for working in the heat.

Heat Exhaustion

This is the body’s response to the loss of water and salt through sweating. Symptoms include:

  • Excessive sweating
  • Weakness or fatigue
  • Dizziness and/or confusion
  • Clammy skin
  • Muscle cramps
  • Flushed complexion
  • Headache
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Irritability
  • Rapid heart rate

Treatment

Sit or lie down in a cool, shady area. Drink plenty of water or other cool beverages. Cool the victim with cold compresses or ice packs. Do not resume working that day. Seek medical attention if symptoms do not improve in an hour.

Heat Cramps

These are painful muscle spasms triggered by low salt levels caused by excessive sweating. Symptoms of heat cramps include:

  • Abdominal cramping
  • Muscle spasms in the arms or legs, particularly the calf.

Treatment

Find a cool, shady spot to rest. Drink water and athletic electrolyte beverages. Wait a few hours before returning to work. Seek medical attention if cramps persist.

Heat Rash

This is a skin irritation caused by excessive sweating. Symptoms include:

  • Red cluster of pimples or small blisters
  • Appears on neck and upper chest, groin area, under the breasts, and in elbow creases.

Treatment

Try to work during less humid times of day and keep the affected area dry.

Top 10 Tips for Working in the Heat

  1. Start hydrated. Drink about 16 ounces before starting work and 5 to 7 ounces every 15 or 20 minutes when the heat is peaking.
  2. Avoid diuretics. Alcohol, coffee, tea and caffeinated soft drinks cut hydration.
  3. Wear the right clothing. Choose garments that are lightweight, light-colored and loose-fitting. Change saturated clothes so moisture wicks away.
  4. Pace yourself. Slow down. An even pace is safer in heat.
  5. Take breaks. Rest. Rehydrate. Find shade or air conditioning.
  6. Wet rag. Tie it around your neck for cooling and sunburn protection.
  7. Avoid sunburn. Use sunscreen and wear a hat.
  8. Know the signs of heat-related illness. Check on other workers who might be at high risk.
  9. Avoid direct sun. Find shade or block the sun if possible.
  10. Eat light. Choose fruits high in fiber and natural juice. Avoid heavy and high-protein foods.
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