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  • Know the Symptoms of Heat-Related Illnesses

    By Karen Dillingham

    Tucson hit 100 degrees for the first time this year on April 26. This time of year, we need to remind ourselves how important heat safety is. Drink water every 15 minutes, regardless of whether you are thirsty. Carry extra water and limit caffeine. Take more breaks in extreme heat and humidity. Look out for your fellow employees and learn the signs of heat-related illnesses such as heat stroke or heat exhaustion. 

    Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion:
    Headache, dizziness, weakness, fatigue, wet skin, thirst, nausea or vomiting, muscle cramps, and high body temperature.

    Treatment:
    • Move the person to a cool or shady area, or have them sit in an air conditioned building or vehicle.
    • Have them drink small sips of water or an electrolyte drink.
    • Keep them rested and stop any physical activity.
    • Seek medical attention if symptoms do not get better after rest and fluids.

    Get help right away for the following symptoms:
    • Cannot drink water or keep fluids down.
    • Develops a fever over 103 degrees Fahrenheit.
    • Has trouble speaking, standing up or walking.
    • Is sweating heavily.
    • Seems confused or loses consciousness.

    Symptoms of Heat Stroke
    • Confusion
    • Fainting
    • Stops sweating
    • Hot dry skin
    • Rapid heart rate
    • High body temperature

    Heat stroke is the most severe form of heat illness and can be fatal if treatment is delayed.

    Treatment:
    Call 911 immediately if a worker is experiencing the symptoms of heat stroke. Stay with the person until emergency medical personnel arrive. Move the person to a cooler or shady area, or have them sit in an air conditioned building or vehicle. Remove any excess clothing. Cool the person down with whatever means are available: a washcloth with cold water or icebags placed on their forehead, armpits, and groin or, if available, immerse the person in a bath of cool water.

    Your health and safety is most important. Please make sure to take care of yourself and look out for your fellow coworkers. 

    Sources: Mayo Clinic, CDC, NIOSH, Cleveland Clinic