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With the summer months on the horizon, warm weather tends to draw attention towards the risks of heat-related illness. Resulting from extreme exposure to heat and hot environments, heat stress causes occupational illnesses such as heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps, or heat rash. The summer months naturally are a high-risk time of year, given soaring temperatures and elevated humidity; however, strenuous physical activity near radiant heat sources, in stuffy and heated interior environments, or around heated objects also poses elevated risks for heat stress.

Know the warning signs

Signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion may develop suddenly or over time, especially with prolonged exposure to extreme temperatures. Contact your doctor if your signs or symptoms worsen or if they don't improve within one hour. If you are with someone showing signs of heat exhaustion, seek immediate medical attention if he or she becomes confused or agitated, loses consciousness, or is unable to drink.

Headache, dizziness, or fainting

Headache, dizziness, or fainting

Weakness and wet skin

Weakness and wet skin

Irritability

Irritability

Passing out/collapsing

Passing out / collapsing

Confusion, inability to think clearly

Confusion, inability to think clearly

Person may stop sweating

Person may stop sweating

Thirst, nausea, or vomiting

Thirst, nausea, or vomiting

Preventative measures

Use cooling vests, head gear and other cooling accessories to keep body temperature low.

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Wear broad-brimmed hats or neck shades to reduce direct sun exposure.

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Wear lightweight, sweat-wicking, fast-drying clothes.

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Drink water even if you aren't thirsty - every 15 minutes.

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Resting in the shade or in air-conditioning will cool body temperatures.

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WHERE EXTREME HEAT WILL PUT OUTDOOR WORKERS AT THE GREATEST RISK

The frequency on where to expect extreme heat conditions could be on the rise in the near future. The question is, what areas would be affected most.

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