Heat Stress Awareness

Western Washington may not bring to mind the intense heat of Eastern Washington in the summer but we still need to be aware of the dangers of heat stress. We need to be especially aware that our humidity increases the effects of high temperatures.

What is Heat Stress? Simply put, it’s when the body is overheated. More importantly it’s when the body loses its ability to cool itself by sweating. This can lead to heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and, potentially, death.

What are the symptoms? Symptoms of heat exhaustion can include headaches and dizziness or lightheadedness, weakness, moist skin, mood changes, and upset stomach. The more serious condition of heat stroke includes symptoms of dry, hot skin with no sweating, mental confusion, loss of consciousness, and seizures or fits.

Preventing Heat Stress- It is important to be aware of the symptoms of heat stress and to monitor yourself and co-workers. Drink plenty of water (avoid alcohol or caffeinated drinks), rest regularly, wear proper clothing, and avoid direct sun or other heat if possible. It is also best to eat light, rather than heavy, meals.

If you suspect Heat Stress- Call 911 immediately. While waiting for help move the person to a cool area, loosen or remove clothing, provide cool water (only if conscious), and fan and mist with water.

Additional information can be found at http://www.lni.wa.gov/safety/topics/atoz/heatstress/default.asp.

For information and training contact EHS.

Page Updated 06.17.2014