How to Avoid Heat Stroke Working Outside
Heat stroke is one of the leading causes of death and injury in the US, especially for workers. Now that the summer months have arrived, temperatures have also started to rise causing the amount of heat stroke and other heat-related illnesses.
We’ve gathered a few tips for staying cool while working. These were gathered from multiple sources including testimonies from seasoned outdoor workers and medical professionals and literature.
But first, why don’t we learn a little bit of what a heat stroke really is and how it can manifest itself.
What Is a Heat Stroke?
A heat stroke is a heat-related illness that happens from unusually high body temperatures. Heat stroke starts to manifest symptoms when the core body temperature rises to 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius).
Heat strokes are often caused by overexertion, prolonged exposure to increased temperatures, and strenuous activities.
Signs and Symptoms
- Rapid Heartbeats – you may also experience tightness or a pounding sensation in your chest
- Dizziness or Intense Headaches – sudden painful headaches can be a sign that your body is overheating.
- Fainting – frequent fainting is a sign that your brain isn’t receiving enough oxygen. Elevated temperatures have been shown to reduce the blood’s ability to carry oxygen.
- Nausea and Vomiting – if you experience frequent vomiting while on the job, consider checking in with your physician.
- Loss of the Ability to Sweat – the body relies on sweat to cool itself. The body loses this ability during the early stages of heat stroke. The body simply shuts down this function to conserve water for the internal organs. As a consequence, the body can’t sweat anymore. When the body can’t sweat, it can’t self-regulate its temperature. The combination of these 2 effects creates a runaway reaction.
If you experience one or a combination of one of these symptoms, seek medical help immediately.
Tips to Avoid Heat Stroke
- Wear a Hat – a hat with a brim of 3 inches or longer can drastically improve your experience in the workplace. Your brain generates a large amount of your body’s heat output and taking every step in keeping it cool can help reduce your overall body’s temperature.
- Use Polarized Sunglasses – UV damage isn’t only limited to your skin. Your eyes can also be affected by the sun’s harmful rays. Using a pair of polarized sunglasses can help not only in reducing UV damage to your eyes but in reflecting heat away from your face, which can be a particularly sensitive part of the body.
- Apply Sunscreen Liberally – a good-quality sunscreen can make all the difference for those working outside. A sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher is recommended for those working long hours in the sun. Apply sunscreen liberally to exposed body parts.
- Plan Your Workday – smart and efficient planning can be one of the smartest decisions you can make on the job. Minimizing the amount of time you spend in direct sunlight will help you keep your body at a safe temperature and avoid heat stroke.
- Drink Plenty of Fluids – this is probably the most obvious tip, but it’s an important one nonetheless. Keep yourself well-hydrated while working. Always keep a jug of cold water handy at all times.