July 18th, 2019 - Heat Related Illness
Problems develop when the body’s cooling mechanisms do not work properly. For example, when the air temperature exceeds body temperature, the body cannot easily cool itself. If the air is humid, sweat also does not evaporate quickly. Sweat also does not evaporate from a person who works hard or exercises while wrapped in heavy clothing or protective gear. That makes heat-related illness a concern in any weather, anywhere.
You should know how to recognize a victim of heat-related illness. Evaluate the symptoms, then follow these first aid actions:
Heat cramps: Have the worker sip water or a sports drink. Gently stretch, massage and ice the muscle.
Heat syncope: Have the worker lie down in a cool area.
Heat exhaustion: Lay the worker down on his or her back in a cool area. Remove excessive layers of clothing. Give a sports drink or water. Do not give anything to drink if the worker vomits. Cool the worker with a cool water spray or wet cloths and a fan.
Heatstroke: Call for medical help immediately. While you wait for help to arrive, immediately cool the victim with any means at hand, preferably by immersing the victim up to the neck in cold water. Alternatively, move the worker to a cool place and remove clothing down to the underwear, then apply ice packs at the neck, armpits and groin. Or, cover the worker with wet towels or cloths or spray him or her with cool water, and fan the worker to quickly evaporate the dampness on the skin.
Catch it early
Awareness is vital to prevent heat-related illnesses. Supervisors need to watch for warning signs of heat illness in workers. Workers also should be educated on what to look for in victims. Many companies that have workers exposed to heat year-round, provide supervisors with lectures, videos and even first aid training to prevent and treat heat-related illnesses. Workers adapt to the heat, but they should know their limits and supervisors should
never push beyond those limits. Workers can take other preventive measures to combat the heat:
- Eat light. The more calories you take in, the more body heat you produce.
- Drink plenty of fluids before work and throughout the day. Avoid caffeine.
- Wear lightweight clothing. Wide-brimmed hats protect workers from direct sunlight.
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Stay safe out there from all of at QIS!