Learn how to beat the heat, at work and at home! Anyone exposed to hot and humid conditions are at risk of heat illness. The body uses the process of sweating to cool itself. However, during hot weather, especially when humidity levels are high, sweating is not enough. Body temperature can rise to dangerous levels if precautions are not taken. Heat illnesses range from heat rash and heat cramps to heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
When it is possible, avoid exposure to extreme heat, sun exposure, and high humidity. When you cannot avoid these exposures, take the following steps to prevent heat illness:
- Wear a hat and light-colored, loose-fitting, breathable clothing such as cotton.
- Schedule heavy work during the coolest parts of day.
- Take more breaks when exposed to extreme heat and humidity. Take breaks in the shade or a cool area when possible.
- Drink water frequently, even if you are not thirsty! Drink enough water that you never become thirsty (approximately 1 cup every 15-20 minutes).
- Avoid drinks with large amounts of caffeine or sugar.
- Learn the signs of heat illness and what to do in an emergency.
- Monitor your own physical condition and the physical condition of those around you. Seek medical attention if needed.
OSHA recommends that you remember these three simple words to protect yourself and others from heat illness: Water, Rest, Shade.
Check out the links below for additional information on heat illnesses:
OSHA’s Campaign to Prevent Heat Illness: https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/heatillness/index.html#affected
NIOSH Fast Facts – Protecting Yourself from Heat Stress: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2010-114/pdfs/2010-114.pdf