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Heat Stress Prevention
Introduction When you are exposed to heat, constant exertion combines with higher temperatures to make things uncomfortable-and sometimes even dangerous. Thats a possibility not only when the climate heats up, but in work settings that may be enclosed or in intense heat.
Introduction Your body has a built-in, automatic response that adapts to heat changes - up to a point. When temperatures go beyond that point, you need to be prepared.
What is Heat Stress? Your body is constantly working to maintain a normal internal temperature of about 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. But when heat causes your temperature to rise faster than you body can cool itself off, you can become vulnerable to heat stress.
What is Heat Stress? Heat stress is any condition caused when environmental conditions overwhelm your bodys temperature regulating abilities.
What is Heat Stress? The main factors in heat stress are temperature, humidity, air movement, physical activity, clothing worn, and the radiant temperature of the surroundings. Temperature alone seldom causes heat stress.
What is Heat Stress? The three most common types of heat stress are heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke.
The Bodys Reaction to Heat When you continue to labor at the same pace in growing heat, your body loses fluids and becomes fatigued. The growing heat stress results in poorer job performance by lowering your alertness and slowing physical responses. As the brain loses vital blood fuel that has gone off to fight the heat, you may no longer be able to even recognize your bodys warning symptoms.
Heat Disorders Heat related illness can range from heat rashes and sunburns to cramps, exhaustion and heat stroke. Heat rashes, sunburns, and heat cramps can be painful and uncomfortable, but they are not life threatening. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are more serious conditions.
Heat Disorders Causes and Symptoms Early warnings of approaching heat stress often are overlooked as routine heat discomfort. An example is heat rash. Some call it prickly heat, which comes when the skin remains wet as sweat does not evaporate. If you feel dizzy or faint, it likely comes from standing erect and motionless in heat. Heat Rash
Heat Disorders Treatment Heat rash involves discomfort more than danger. Its common during humid periods of heat when sweat on the skin is slow at evaporating. Relief comes from bathing affected areas, then drying the skin. Heat Rash
Heat Disorders Fainting Causes and Symptoms Fainting can occur if a person is not used to the hot heat. A worker who stands in one place in heat may suffer from blood pooling - the tendency for blood to flow through heat - enlarged blood vessels and collect in the lower areas of the body, leaving the brain without adequate replenishment.
Heat Disorders At the first sign of dizziness or fainting, lie down. If this is not possible sit down and put your head between your legs. As your head clears, get back on your feet and start moving around to prevent continued blood pooling. Fainting Treatment
Heat Disorders Heat Cramps Heat cramps are painful muscle spasms that are caused by lack of salt in the body. They usually result from sweating heavily and drinking large amounts of water without replacing the bodys salt loss. Causes and Symptoms
Heat Disorders Cramps may hurt, but they alert you that you need to ease up the work pace before the problem advances to the more dangerous areas of heat exhaustion and and stroke. Replace the salt your body has lost by drinking a.5% salt water solution or a sport drink. Treatment Heat Cramps
Heat Disorders Continued loss of fluid and salt from sweating can lead to heat exhaustion. The victim sometimes mistakes the symptoms for the flu. Symptoms can include heavy sweating, cool and moist skin, and a week pulse. Other symptoms can include possible fainting, weakness, dizziness, nausea, diarrhea, blurred vision and a normal or slightly high body temperature. Heat Exhaustion Causes and Symptoms
Heat Disorders Heat exhaustion is a step away from heat stroke, and treatment can be more effective because the victim often remains conscious. Move the victim into a cooler, shaded area. Recline the victim with the feet elevated. Loosen clothing. A conscious person can replenish lost body fluids by drinking cool beverages, slowly but steadily. Heat Exhaustion Treatment
Heat Disorders Heat stroke is the most serious of the heat illnesses. When sweating no longer helps the body regulate its internal temperature, the body has no choice but to halt cooling efforts and store heat. There are two main types of heat stroke: Classic and Exertional. Heat Stroke Causes and Symptoms
Heat Disorders Exertional heat stroke affects healthy people who work or play hard in a warm environment. These victims are usually sweating when they develop heat stroke. Because it occurs rapidly, there usually isnt time for severe dehydration to occur. Classic heat stroke may take days to develop and usually affects the poor, elderly, chronically ill, overweight, and alcoholics. Victims of classic heat stroke are not usually sweating. Heat Stroke
Heat Disorders Heat Stroke Treatment Heat stroke is a medical emergency. If a heat stroke victim does not receive the proper treatment quickly enough, death can occur. Do whatever you can to cool the victim off immediately. This includes moving the person into the shade, submerging him or her in water or pouring water on him and fanning the victim.
Preventing Heat Stress Understanding and recognizing the causes and symptoms of heat stress disorders is an important part of heat stress safety. But the key is using measures to prevent heat stress from occurring in the first place.
Preventing Heat Stress Reduce the Environmental Temperature Engineering measures should be the first means of controlling this hazard. The most effective control measure when indoors is reducing the temperature of the work area. When this is not possible, other measures such as shielding or ventilation should be used. Use a fan or open a window to increase air movement.
Preventing Heat Stress The loss of fluids is the major contributor to heat illness. Under normal conditions your body loses about two quarts of water every day. When exposed to excess heat while working, a person can lose almost two quarts in one hour through sweating. Drink Plenty of Fluids
Preventing Heat Stress Wear the Proper Clothing Since sweating is an important cooling mechanism, the moisture vapor transport rating of material used for protective clothing should be considered when selecting and using personal protective equipment. If youre working in the sun, dont give in to the temptation to remove some clothes. A sunburn may look healthy, but it greatly reduces the skins ability to shed excess heat.
Preventing Heat Stress Most heat illnesses occur in the first few days of working in the heat. To prevent this, acclimation (adjusting to the heat) is very important. Gradually increase your exposure to warm temperatures. Most people are completely acclimated in four to seven days. Limit Your Exposure
Preventing Heat Stress Keep Healthy & Fit A healthy diet and body can help prevent heat illness. Excess weight traps heat in your body and forces your heart and glands to work harder to get rid of it.
Preventing Heat Stress Ask Your Doctor Consult your doctor about exposure to heat if you have an existing medical condition, or are taking medication, or are overweight. Other risk factors include alcohol consumption, caffeine, old age.
Preventing Heat Stress Use Common Sense You know your own limitations better than anyone else does. Pay attention to the signals your body gives you that let you know when to quit, slow down or take a break. Pace yourself, drink plenty of fluids, take regular breaks away from the heat, and use common sense.
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