It’s hot out. It is important to respond quickly and appropriately when you or someone near you are exhibiting signs of heat-related illness. There are four common heat-related illnesses and each is treated differently. These are the proper steps to take for each:
- Heat rash symptoms include clusters of red bumps, commonly on the neck, chest, or in folds of skin. Keep the affected area dry and relocate the worker to a cooler or less humid environment.
- Heat cramps include muscle spasms and pain in the abdomen or limbs. Encourage the worker to rest in the shade or in a cool room, and make sure he or she drinks plenty of cold water. The worker should rest for several hours before returning to strenuous work or seek medical attention if the cramps do not subside.
- Heat exhaustion can cause headaches, nausea, vomiting, or dizziness. The worker should immediately sit or lie down in a cool, shaded area, drink plenty of cool liquids and apply ice packs to his or her armpits to lower his or her core temperature. Seek emergency care if symptoms are not improved within an hour.
- Heat stroke is an emergency. The worker may exhibit confusion, fainting, or seizures, accompanied by an extremely high body temperature. Call 911, and while waiting for help to arrive, loosen the employee’s clothing, apply cold packs to his or her armpits and encourage him or her to drink plenty of fluids.