Heat Stress, Heat Stroke

There are two main ways in which our bodies produce heat:
1.     Metabolic Heat - the body generates heat through the digestion of food, work and exercise.
2.     Environmental Heat - body absorbs heat from the surrounding environment, whether it is the hot sun or a hot room.       

There are three methods in which our bodies can be cooled.
1.     Convection - is the transfer of heat through the circulation of air.
2.     Evaporation - process which occurs when a liquid changes into a vapor.
3.     Radiation - heat is naturally emitted from the body surface.

·      Acclimation - the biological process through which our bodies adapt to the environment -- basically  
getting used to the heat. 
·      Air Temperature - heat flows from warmer objects to cooler objects.
·      Air Movement - moving air speeds the evaporation process.
·      Humidity - the amount of water vapor in the air affects the rate of evaporation.
·      Clothing - the type of clothing affects the amount of heat our bodies absorb and retain

1.     Heat Rash - also known as Prickly Heat, occurs in hot, humid environments where sweat can't easily evaporate from the skin.  
·                     This condition produces a rash which in some cases causes severe pain. 
·                     The procedures to prevent or minimize this condition is to rest frequently  in cool places and bath regularly ensuring to thoroughly dry the skin.
2.     Heat Cramps - painful muscle spasms that result from the loss of salt and electrolytes due to excessive sweating. 
·                     The cramps will usually affect the stomach, the arms and legs. 
·                     This condition can be treated by drinking fluids containing electrolytes such as calcium, sodium and potassium. 
·                     This condition usually precedes heat exhaustion. 
3.     Heat Exhaustion - is a state brought on by the loss of fluids lost during excessive sweating. 
·                     –Individuals with heat exhaustion still sweat, but they experience extreme weakness and may even collapse. 
·                     –They may experience nausea and headache.  Their skin is clammy and moist, their complexion is usually pale and the body temperature is usually normal or slightly higher. 
·                     –This condition is best treated by taking the patient to a cool place, applying cool compresses, elevating the feet and giving the individual plenty of fluids.
4.     Heat Stroke - is a severe medical emergency which could result in death. 
·                     –Heat stroke results when the body's core temperature gets too high and the body is no longer able to cool itself. 
·                     –An individual suffering from heat stroke will have hot and dry skin, their pulse will be high and their blood pressure will fall. 
·                     –This condition must be treated by immediately cooling the victim's body with water or wrapping them in cool wet  sheets. Immediately seek medical attention.
·        Acclimation - accustom yourself to the weather prior to long durations of physical activity.
·        Maintain Body Fluids - Fluid intake must be maintained throughout the course of physical activity.
         Do not rely on thirst as an indicator of dehydration because your body loses water faster than you realize.
         Alcohol should be avoided because it is a diuretic, which increases dehydration and can interfere with heat loss.

· Proper Diet – Eat light and stay away from heavy foods. They increase metabolic heat production and also increase water loss. Eat smaller, well-balanced meals more often.
· Rest Periods - Pace your work activities at a slower rate during high temperatures and take frequent rest periods in a shaded area and drink plenty of fluids.
· Dress Light – Lightweight, light-colored clothing reflects heat and sunlight and helps your body maintain normal temperatures.
       Wear loose-fitting clothes such as cotton which lets air move over your body.
       Wide brimmed hats should also be worn.


Danger Category
Heat Syndrome
> 130
Extreme Danger
Heat Stroke Imminent
When the heat index is in this zone employees in the affected area should be dismissed
105 - 129
Heat Cramps or heat exhaustion likely. Heat Stroke possible with prolonged exposure and activity
When the heat index is in this zone. Non critical work activities should be suspended. Critical work activities shall be evaluated and schedule changes of affected employees should be made. Management must specifically approve employees working in heat index danger areas
91 - 104
Extreme Caution
Heat cramps or heat exhaustion possible with prolonged exposure and activity
When the heat index is in this zone management shall discuss the situation with supervisors and make schedule/work adjustments to accommodate for the heat. Specific approval must be granted for working under extreme heat conditions
77 - 90
Fatigue Possible
Normal work day, no alerts posted

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