Heat on the job can cause dizziness, discomfort and even death if the signs go unrecognized.
6 Factors that can make you more susceptible to heat related illness include:
- Weight: Overweight and underweight people are more at risk for an imbalance in heat transfer.
- Health: Medical conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiac disease and respiratory diseases can increase the risk of harm.
- Level of Fitness: A fit person can acclimatise and cope better with temperature extremes.
- Age: As a person reaches middle-age (45+), lifestyle health issues can start to emerge. These can make people more susceptible to harm caused by working in extreme heat.
- Prescription medication: If you are on anti-depressants, amphetamines, psycho-tropics, diet pills, laxatives, diuretics, heart and blood pressure medication, thyroid, allergy, cough and cough and anti-cholinergic medications you may be more susceptible to heat related illness. Check with your Doctor if in doubt.
- Use of non-prescribed substances: Alcohol, cannabis and cocaine use should be avoided during hot weather.
10 Ways to Prevent Heat Stress:
1. Acclimatise: Gradually build up your ability to handle heat by increasing your exposure time to heat by an hour/day. When your body gets used to heat your sweating becomes more efficient (more sweat, quicker but with less salt).
2. Drink small amounts of water frequently: Drink 100-150mls of water every 15-20 minutes. Start drinking water before work. Plain water or a mix of 50/50 fruit juice and water at room temperature.Stay away from caffeinated carbonated, diet drinks and alcohol as they take water out of your body. DON’T WAIT TILL YOU ARE THIRSTY.
3. Eat smaller and more frequent meals: Try to plan your meals for the week and make your own lunch and snacks. This will be better for your health and your wallet.
4. Avoid sugary, fatty foods and alcohol: Check with your Doctor before adding extra salt to your diet. Sugar increased your blood sugar and your body temperature. Alcohol causes dehydration. Stay away from high fat foods because fat is harder to digest.
5.Take more frequent, short breaks: Do more strenuous jobs in the morning when it is cooler. Use these breaks to drink your water or to rest in a cool area.
6.Cool off: Rest in shaded areas, wear cooling bandannas or vests if available.
7.Cover and Sunscreen: Wear loose-fitting long sleeved shirt and long pants. Hard hats will protect the scalp.
8. Get enough sleep.
9. Maintain fitness: Exercise regularly after work.
10. Regular Health Monitoring: