Recognize Heat-Related Disorders

The more you work -- or play --on a hot day, the more your body heats up inside, and that can be dangerous.

Too much activity can make your body lose its ability to dispose of excess heat. The core temperature of the body rises and the heart rate increases.

OSHA has identified these types of disorders and what you can do to help someone in distress:

  • Heat stroke - A serious, life-threatening event. Signs include loss of the ability to sweat, mental confusion, hot dry skin, and high body temperature. Move the person to a cool area and soak with cool water. Fan vigorously until medical help arrives.
  • Heat exhaustion - Symptoms include fatigue, dizziness, nausea, or headache with moist skin. Move the victim to a cool place and give water or a sports drink. If the victim vomits or faints, seek medical treatment.
  • Heat cramps - Usually muscles used for work are affected, but cramps may occur later. Drinking liquids should relieve cramps, but intravenous saline solution may be necessary in extreme circumstances.
  • Fainting - When people stand for a long time in a hot environment they aren’t used to, they may faint. Moving around is better than standing in one place.
  • Heat rash - When sweat is trapped under the skin, small, red bumps may appear that itch and burst to release sweat. See a doctor if they get infected.

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