According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), millions of workers in the US suffer from occupational heat illnesses. In Woodridge, this includes heat stroke, heat exhaustion, and other heat-based illnesses that result from excessive exposure.
50% to 70% of heat illnesses manifest in the first few days of working in high temperatures since our body needs to acclimatize itself to it. Simply put, this happens when you are not used to working in the heat and are placed in a position where you have little choice but to work long hours under the sun or near a high heat source such as a furnace.
Here are some uncommon facts about working under extreme heat conditions and some tips that can help you avoid them:
Any worker can get seriously ill from the heat under certain conditions. But some are more susceptible to it than others and should take extra precautions. This includes individuals who suffer from high blood pressure, have heart disease, are overweight, or take medication for any of these health issues.
When temperatures soar, most workers are advised to drink fluids to keep dehydration at bay. Contrary to popular belief, this does not include sugary, caffeinated, and alcoholic drinks. These can make your body lose more fluid and dehydrate you faster. While water is a preferable substitute, drinking it cold can cause stomach cramps. Drink small amounts of cool water frequently rather than chugging down a whole bottle of chilled water.
When we sweat, we lose a lot of salt and essential minerals, which our body needs to remain functional. A sports drink can replenish these, but you can also get electrolytes from food. Talk to a physician about low-salt diet options if you are avoiding salt.
To understand how heat can cause serious illnesses, we must first understand how it affects us. Our body remains cool by thermoregulation, which keeps our core at a comfortable temperature. The hypothalamus region of the brain controls that process, and it activates when specific receptors in our skin and organs make us lose heat to maintain a healthy temperature.
When we get really hot, we sweat to dissipate that heat. But if the amount of heat that enters us exceeds the heat that leaves our body, our core temperature rises sharply, leading to illnesses. These are usually caused by external factors such as high humidity levels.
The top types of heat-related illnesses include the following:
Also known as prickly heat, a heat rash stings and turns the skin red and irritable.
Heat cramps are painful muscle spasms that are caused by extreme heat.
If you fail to replenish fluids under extreme heat, you can start sweating profusely, suffer from a weak pulse and start breathing heavily. This is called heat exhaustion.
This is a life-threatening condition that occurs if our core body temperature rapidly rises higher than 106°F rapidly. Sweating doesn’t help if you remain in the sun or near a high heat source.
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