Beat the Heat: Prevention and Treatment of Heat Related Illnesses
At General Heating and Air Conditioning safety for both our employees’ and customers’ is a top priority. As temperatures start to raise higher and higher it is important to remember that heat related illnesses can occur. Taking a nod to our number one core value, safety, let us review and discuss the three types of heat related illnesses that can occur during the hottest months of the year.
Heat cramps are painful cramps in the arms, legs or abdominal muscles caused by the onset of dehydration.
If you have heat cramps, stop the activity and move to a cooler area. It is also important to drink cool water and gently stretch the affected muscles.
Heat Exhaustion is a more mild heat related illness. It occurs from working in high temperatures, coupled with inadequate fluid intake. Warning signs include heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea/vomiting and fainting. It is important to remember that heat exhaustion can turn into a heat stroke. Therefore, identifying the illness as soon as possible and following up with treatment is key to remedying heat exhaustion.
It is always important to drink plenty of water. Sports drinks can be helpful to replace electrolytes, but is not a substitute for water. In extreme temperatures, many frequent breaks may be necessary to reduce the likelihood of a heat related illness.
Heat stroke is an extremely dangerous and series condition that if untreated by emergency medical care could result in death. Warning signs include pale, dry skin with rapid heart rate, difficulty breathing, disorientation, agitation, confusion, fainting, strange behavior, seizures and coma.
Once heat stroke symptoms occur it is important to contact emergency medical services immediately. Cool the victim by placing ice under the armpits and groin areas. Keep the victim in a cool place until emergency medical assistance arrives.
Heat related illnesses are a very scary but a very real issue that occurs on job sites and during personal time. As you are working outside or enjoying the warm weather these months bring, please keep these tips in mind.