Can Your Workers Identify Heat Stress Symptoms and First Aid Measures?

August 4, 2014 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

With more hot and humid summer weather on the way, this month is a good time for a safety meeting on preventing heat stress.
In hot weather, the body normally cools itself by sweating. But when temperatures soar and the humidity level is high, sweating may not be enough. Body temperature can rise to dangerous levels, and a person can develop a heat illness.
Heat-related illnesses include:
• Heat cramps—muscle pains or spasms that happen during heavy exertion in hot weather (e.g., exercising strenuously or performing heavy physical work).
• Heat rash—skin irritation from excessive heat.
• Heat syncope—dizziness or fainting because of the heat.
• Heat exhaustion—the body’s response to an excessive loss of water and salt, usually through excessive sweating caused by overexertion in the hot weather. (Note: Heat exhaustion can become heatstroke if not treated right away.)
• Heatstroke—a life-threatening illness in which body temperature may rise above 106° Fahrenheit in minutes.
Symptoms of heatstroke (the most serious type of heat stress) include:
• Hot, dry skin or very heavy sweating
• Hallucinations
• Chills
• Throbbing headache
• High body temperature
• Confusion/dizziness
• Slurred speech
Proper first aid for heat stroke includes:
• Call 911.
• Move the person to a cool shaded area.
• Cool the person using methods such as soaking clothes with water; spraying, sponging, or showering with water; or fanning the body.
Symptoms of heat exhaustion include:
• Heavy sweating
• Extreme weakness or fatigue
• Dizziness, confusion
• Nausea
• Clammy, moist skin
• Pale or flushed complexion
• Muscle cramps
• Slightly elevated body temperature
• Fast and shallow breathing
Proper first aid for heat exhaustion includes:
• Have the person rest in a cool, shaded or air-conditioned area.
• Have the person drink plenty of water or other cool, nonalcoholic beverages.
• Have the person take a cool shower, bath, or sponge bath.
Symptoms of heat syncope include:
• Light-headedness
• Dizziness
• Fainting
Proper first aid for heat syncope includes:
• Sit or lie down in a cool place when symptoms first appear.
• Slowly drink water, clear juice, or a sports beverage.
Symptoms of heat cramps include muscle pain or spasms usually in the abdomen, arms, or legs.
Proper first aid for heat cramps includes:
• Stop all activity, and sit in a cool place.
• Drink clear juice or a sports beverage.
• Do not return to strenuous activity for a few hours after the cramps subside because further exertion could lead to heat exhaustion or heatstroke.
Symptoms of heat rash include a red cluster of pimples or small blisters most likely to occur on the neck and upper chest, in the groin, under the breasts, and in elbow creases.
Proper first aid for heat rash includes keep the affected area dry and use powder.

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