Quick Reactions: What To Do in the Event of Heat Stress

Working outside in the summer can be incredibly dangerous if the proper precautions are not taken. Studies show that workers often show up to job sites already dehydrated, increasing their risk for heat stress. The study also demonstrated how workers’ body temperatures, even on moderately hot days, were too high. Because of these hazards that workers face every day, it is important that you understand the different types of heat stress and know what to do if you see someone experiencing heat stress or are experiencing heat stress yourself. While older adults, children, and people with medical conditions are the most likely to experience heat stress, it can truly happen to anyone. There are a lot of different factors that can contribute to heat stress, such as intense physical activities, alcohol consumption, and various medications.


Types of Heat Stress

There are four main types of heat stress that you can experience. Let’s look at the four types of heat stress and the symptoms you can experience from them.

1. Heat Cramps: Heat cramps are muscle spasms caused by dehydration and intense sweating. They are most likely in the abdomen, back, arms, and legs.

2. Heat Rash: Heat rashes are itchy skin irritations with small red spots where sweat collects. People with heat rashes typically experience redness and swelling, and these rashes occur most often in the armpits, back, chest, and elbow creases. Heat rash often heals on its own, but it can also be treated with over-the-counter ointments and creams.

3. Heat Exhaustion: Heat exhaustion is a form of heat stress that involves symptoms such as sweating, faintness, dizziness, headaches, nausea, a rapid pulse, and muscle cramps.

4. Heat Stroke: Heat stroke is the most intense form of heat stress. A person experiences a heat stroke when their body is unable to regulate its temperature. Symptoms of heat stroke include confusion, nausea, racing heart rate, rapid breathing, and flushed skin.


    How to React to Heat Stress

    If you or someone else is experiencing heat stress, it is important to follow proper safety protocols.

    1. Look for Identification: If you do not know the person that needs help, ask or search for a form of identification. If the person is responsive, ask them if they have any underlying health conditions.

    2. Seek Shade: In the event of heat stress, it is important to seek a cool shaded area to help their body temperature decrease.

    3. Drink Cold Liquids: Sipping on cold water or a drink with electrolytes help a person’s body temperature to lower and for their symptoms to decrease. The electrolytes help to replenish nutrients that are lost through sweating.

    4. Remove Excessive Clothing: Tight excessive clothing can limit the body’s ability to cool down. Once a person has found shade, it is important to remove any restricting clothing.

    5. Lay Down and Elevate Legs: In the event of heat exhaustion or heat stroke, a person should be laid down and have their legs elevated while being sponged with cool water and fanned.

    6. In the Event of Heat Stroke: In the event of heat stroke, 911 should immediately be called. Steps 1-5 should be followed while waiting for Emergency Services to arrive.


      How to Protect Yourself from Heat Stress in the Future

      Stay Hydrated: Consistently consuming cold water or electrolyte drinks while on the job can help you to keep your body temperature lower and energy levels higher.

      Take Breaks in the Shade: Taking some breaks from the sun throughout the day can also help lower your body temperature, and taking a brief rest from extensive physical activity can also be beneficial.

      Wear Protective PPE: Wearing UPF-rated or cooling PPE will help your body stay cool in the heat throughout the day.


      Pyramex PPE Built for the Heat

      UPF-Rated PPE: UPF-rated PPE protects you from UV rays, which can limit your risk of sunburns. Our UPF-rated work wear is also moisture-wicking, meaning that the fabric absorbs moisture instead of the moisture going through the fabric. The benefit of the moisture being absorbed into the fabric is that it begins to produce a cooling effect. Click here to view our UPF-rated products.

      Cooling Products: We have products uniquely designed to regulate your body temperature. Evaporative cooling products make working in the heat more manageable due to their ability to regulate your body temperature. Like moisture-wicking work wear, cooling products soak up and hold water and are able to cool the absorbed water down in order to cool down your skin. Click here to view all of our cooling products.

      Vented Hard Hats and Cooling Accessories: Wearing vented hard hats is a great way to help keep your head cool while also staying safe. Vented hard hats feature a ventilation system throughout the helmet to promote airflow. We also offer a variety of cooling and shading accessories for hard hats to help cool the top of your head and keep your neck out of direct sunlight. Click here to view our vented hard hats and accessories.


      Currently, there is no OSHA heat standard, meaning that workers oftentimes find themselves working in extreme heat. Keep yourself safe in the heat with our summer PPE and look out for those around you who might be in danger of heat stress.


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      Quick Reactions: What To Do in the Event of Heat Stress