As summer approaches, workers all over the country will experience the risk of heat stress. Heat stress is especially prevalent in the summer months due to climate changes in July and August.
Heat stress is a signal that says the body is having difficulty maintaining its narrow temperature range. The heart pumps faster, blood is diverted from internal organs to the skin, breathing rate increases, and sweating increases, all in an attempt to transfer more heat to the outside air and cool the skin by the evaporation of sweat. If the body can't keep up, then the person suffers effects ranging from heat cramps to heat exhaustion, and finally to heat stroke.
Workers at risk of heat stress include outdoor workers and workers in hot environments such as firefighters, bakery workers, farmers, construction workers, miners, boiler room workers, factory workers, and others. Workers at greater risk of heat stress include those who are 65 years of age or older, are overweight, have heart disease or high blood pressure, or take medications that may be affected by extreme heat. Source: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
· Drink water frequently and moderately.
· Take breaks and rest periodically out of the sun and heat.
· Eat lightly.
· Do jobs that are more strenuous during the cooler morning hours.
· Utilizing ventilation or fans in enclosed areas.
· Remembering that it takes about 1-2 weeks for the body to adjust to the heat; this adaptation is quickly lost – so your body will need time to adjust after a vacation.
· Avoiding alcohol consumption. Many cases have occurred the day after a "night on the town”.
· Wear light-colored, cotton clothes, and keep your shirt on; desert nomads do not wear all those clothes for nothing.
Additional sources: CNA