Hot and Hotter: Prevent Heat Stroke
What Surveyors Should Know About Heat Stress and How to Prevent It
In the summertime, the rising temperatures and humidity mean taking extra precautions to keep cool and stay safe, especially for surveyors. Those long hours working outdoors don’t get any shorter, so it’s important to know the signs of heat stress and how to prevent it. Heat injuries can include:
- Heat cramps,
- Heat exhaustion, and
- Heat stroke, which can result in organ failure and even death.
Know the Signs of Heat Stress
Heat stress is dangerous and can occur suddenly. Even if you spend most workdays outside, it takes your body seven to 10 days to get used to the heat. Know the signs and take the appropriate actions to reduce the risk of heat injury.
Heat cramps – Symptoms include muscle pain and spasms. Drink plenty of water and alternate between easy and strenuous jobs.
Heat exhaustion – Symptoms include fatigue, nausea, headache, giddiness, clammy skin, red complexion, rapid heart rate, and even fainting. If you begin to experience any of these symptoms, move to a cool area, drink plenty of water, and take a break.
Heat stroke – Symptoms include hot, dry, red skin, or blotchy skin, confusion, convulsions and loss of consciousness. If you or anyone around you begins to experience these symptoms, immerse in cool water, wrap a cool wet cloth around you, and seek medical attention immediately. If ice is available, apply it to neck, armpits, groin and back.
Heat Stress Prevention Tips
Now that you know what the signs of heat stress are, take the following precautions to prevent it:
Drink plenty of water. Try to drink at least one glass every hour.
Wear loose, light-colored clothing. Breathable clothing as well as a shade-producing hat will help keep your body cool.
Take frequent breaks in the shade. Removing yourself from the hot, summer sun will help keep your internal temperature cool.
Avoid alcohol and caffeine. Both caffeine and alcohol cause dehydration, even if you drink them the night before.
Talk to your doctor. Heat-related reactions can occur if you are taking certain medications.
Educate employees. If you are a business owner or manager, be sure to teach your employees about the dangers of excess heat.
Although surveyors can’t avoid the summer heat, knowing the signs of heat stress and how to prevent it is important in maintaining workplace safety. Be aware of rising temperatures and follow these tips, and you can count on staying safe through the end of the season.