The weather is heating up. Outdoor sun and indoor heat at the workplace are dangerous because they lead to health issues ranging from not feeling well to life-threatening health conditions. OSHA encourages employers to know the following symptoms associated with heat-related illnesses:
- Heat rash happens when sweat glands become blocked.
- Heat cramps in muscles appear after strenuous work because sweating causes dehydration and loss of electrolytes.
- Heat swelling (edema) in legs and hands is a result of prolonged sitting or standing in hot weather conditions.
- Heat stress (tetany seizure) is caused by short periods of stress in hot environments.
- Fainting (syncope) generally happens when the blood vessels dilate and body fluids move down into the legs.
- Heat exhaustion (prostration) develops when a person is working under hot conditions without drinking enough water.
- Heatstroke is a life-threatening medical emergency that happens when the body fails to regulate its own temperature.
Water. Rest. Shade.Most heat-related illnesses can be prevented by keeping the body cool and avoiding dehydration. The following simple-to-implement steps work really well:
- Drink plenty of water frequently.
- Schedule working outside for the early mornings or late evenings to avoid the exposure to the highest temperatures.
- If you have to stand or sit for a long time in a hot environment, flex your muscles often to regulate the blood flow.
- Take frequent breaks in a shade or by a fan.