Streamline - Summer 2015 - (Page 19)
Excessive exposure to heat can cause a range of heat-related illnesses,
from heat rash and heat cramps to heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
Preventing Heat-Related Illnesses
BY GARY GANDEE, CIRCUIT RIDER II
some part of their workday in a hot environment and often face conditions which pose hazards
to their safety and health. Workers exposed to hot indoor environments or hot and humid conditions outdoors are at risk of
heat-related illness, especially those performing strenuous activities or wearing bulky and non-breathable protective clothing
and equipment. Some workers might be at a greater risk than others if they have not built up a tolerance to hot conditions,
or if they have certain health conditions.
MANY WORKERS SPEND
When a person works in a hot environment, the body must get rid of excess
heat to maintain a stable internal temperature. It does this mainly through
sweating and by circulating blood to the
skin. When the air temperature is close
to or warmer than normal body temperature, cooling of the body becomes
more difficult. Blood circulated to the
skin cannot lose its heat. Sweating then
becomes the main way the body cools
off. However, sweating is effective only
if the humidity level is low enough to
allow for evaporation and if lost fluids
and salts are adequately replaced.
If the body cannot get rid of excess
heat, it will store it. When this happens, the body's core temperature
rises and the heart rate increases. As
the body continues to store heat, the
person begins to lose concentration
and has difficulty focusing on a task,
may become irritable or sick, and often
loses the desire to drink. The next stage
is often fainting and even death if the
person is not cooled down.
Excessive exposure to heat can cause
a range of heat-related illnesses, from
heat rash and heat cramps to heat
exhaustion and heat stroke.
Heat stroke, the most serious form
of heat-related illness, happens when
the body becomes unable to regulate
its core temperature. Sweating stops
and the body can no longer rid itself
of excess heat. Signs include confusion, loss of consciousness and seizures.
Heat stroke is a medical emergency
that may result in death. Call 911
Heat exhaustion is the body's
response to loss of water and salt from
heavy sweating. Signs include headache, nausea, dizziness, weakness,
irritability, thirst and heavy sweating.
Heat cramps are caused by the loss
of body salts and fluid during sweating. Low salt levels in muscles cause
painful cramps. Tired muscles - those
used for performing the work - are usually the ones most affected by cramps.
Cramps may occur during or after
Heat rash, also known as prickly
heat, is skin irritation caused by sweat
that does not evaporate from the skin.
Heat rash is the most common problem
in hot work environments.
Less than 91°F
Basic heat safety and planning
91°F to 103°F
Implement precautions and heighten awareness
103°F to 115°F
Additional precautions to protect workers
Greater than 115°F
Very High to Extreme
Triggers even more aggressive protective measures
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Streamline - Summer 2015
From the President: A Disinfection Byproducts Odyssey
From the Executive Director: It’s Over
Importance of Professional Relationships in the Water and Wastewater Industry
Spring Cleaning … All Year Long
Region Meetings: the Next Big Thing
Preventing Heat-Related Illnesses
Virginia Source Water
USDA Rural Development
A Successful Model for Waterworks
Professional Licensing Update: News You Can Use
Tank Team Tackles Water Distribution
VRWA 2015 Conference Highlights
Town of Lovettsville Wins the ‘Great Water Taste Contest’
Throwing My Loop: Helpers in Our Path
VRWA Booster Club
Do You Know What Your VRWA Benefits Are?
Board of Directors
Index to Advertisers/Ad.com
Streamline - Summer 2015