It's a scorcher out there, folks! And as summer continues to heat up and temps camp out in the triple digits, it is important to take precautions and protect yourself from heat illness while being outdoors. Extremely high temperatures especially put athletes at an increased risk for heat illness. Knowing the steps for prevention can help keep you safe.
The common denominator of heat illness prevention is: Water, Rest, Shade. Getting plenty of all three when outdoors is the best way to beat the heat and stay out of trouble.
Heat Safety Tips
When overheating does occur, it's important to recognize the signs and symptoms of heat-related illness. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) identifies four stages of heat-related illness: heat rash, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
Heat Rash is an irritation to the skin caused by sweat buildup. While common, heat rash is usually treatable by getting individuals into a cool environment with good ventilation.
Sweating causes a loss of body salts and fluids, which can lead to heat cramps. An individual suffering from muscle spasms or pain due to the heat should move to a cool area, rest and hydrate.
If the body loses too much water and salt, heat exhaustion may result. Signs of heat exhaustion include cool, moist skin, nausea, headache, dizziness, weakness and rapid pulse. Workers should immediately lie down in a cool area, drink lots of water and apply cold compresses or ice packs if available. If signs of heat exhaustion do not abate or worsen, the individual should go to the emergency room.
Heat Stroke is a medical emergency. Heat stroke signs and symptoms are:
Don't be afraid to get out and enjoy summertime with your friends and family. Just be sure to be prepared, use precaution and common sense, and know when it's time to take a rest.