Types of Heat Related Illnesses
Heat stroke, the most serious form of heat-related illness, happens when the body becomes unable to regulate its temperature. You stop producing sweat after a period of time and the body can no longer rid itself of excess heat. Symptoms include confusion, loss of consciousness, very high body temperature, and seizures. Heat stroke is a medical emergency that may result in death! Call 911 immediately.
Heat exhaustion is the body's response to loss of water and salt from heavy sweating. Signs include headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, weakness, fast heartbeat, cool moist skin, irritability, thirst, and heavy sweating.
Heat cramps are caused by the loss of body salts and fluid during sweating. Low salt levels in muscles cause painful cramps or muscle spasms. Cramps and spasms are usually in the abdomen, arms, or legs. There may also be cramps in some of the secondary muscles used for performing the work. Cramps and spasms may occur during or well after working hours.
Heat rash, is skin irritation caused by sweat that does not evaporate from the skin. Heat rash is the most common problem in hot work environments. Symptoms are clusters of red bumps on the skin that often appear on neck and upper chest.
It is our responsibility to help identify and prevent heat related incidents at home and in all of our various work places.