Avoiding Heat Exhaustion
As we experience some warmer weather it is important to remember to stay safe, especially for those at work and working on sites. When the weather is warmer, especially as we aren’t acclimated to it in the UK, it is particularly important to remind yourself of the symptoms of heat exhaustion and the ways to avoid it. Spending time either inside a warehouse or office where it may be warm or outside in direct heat can put you at risk of heat exhaustion.
Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion
Knowing the symptoms of heat exhaustion is important for both yourself and your colleagues, heat exhaustion does not need to be serious if you can cool down within 30 minutes. However, when not treated it can turn into heatstroke, which needs to be considered an emergency.
The symptoms of heat exhaustion include:
- Loss of Appetite
- Pale and Clammy Skin
- Fast Pulse and Breathing
- High Temperature (38°C)
- Extreme Thirst
You don’t need to be showing all the above signs to be experiencing heat exhaustion, if someone shows signs they should be cooled down.
What to Do If You Have Heat Exhaustion
If you or someone else is experiencing symptoms of heat exhaustion, you need to cool them down. The first thing to do is to move to a cool place, if you are outside this may mean moving inside especially if it is air conditioned. Lie down, with raised feet if possible and drink plenty of water or rehydration drinks. You can also cool your skin by spraying cool water and using a fan. You should begin to cool down after this; if not and signs of heatstroke appear, call 999.
Signs of heatstroke include:
- No Sweating Although Too Hot
- Temperature above 40°C
- Shortness of Breath
- Loss of Consciousness
Heatstroke is a medical emergency and medical attention should be sought, if a person loses consciousness place them in the recovery position.
Preventing Heat Exhaustion
The best treatment for heat exhaustion is to prevent it. Therefore, let’s look at some of the best ways to prevent it.
Drink Plenty of Cold Drinks
One of the most important things to do when it is a hot day is to stay hydrated. Being dehydrated has its own problems, but it can also contribute to heat exhaustion. If you do any exercise or your job involves a lot of activity this is even more important.
Avoid Midday Sun
The sun is hottest between 11am and 3pm, so try to avoid as much as possible during this time. Where this is not possible, make sure to follow all the other advice in preventing heat exhaustion.
Wear Light Coloured Clothing
Light coloured clothing reflects the heat better so will keep you cooler in the sun. In addition, make sure your clothing is loose if possible, to ensure it is breathable.
We’ve more insight for when it comes to preventing heatstroke at work, just click the link.