Know the symptoms and follow a few simple steps to help avoid these heat-induced illnesses — and a workers comp claim.
What is Dehydration?
Your body needs a certain amount of fluids to work properly. Dehydration happens when you use or lose more fluid than you take in. If you don’t replace the lost fluids, you can become dehydrated, which can lead to heat exhaustion.
Symptoms of mild dehydration include:
- Dry mouth
- Less frequent urination
- Dry, cool skin
- Dark-colored urine
- Muscle cramps
- Rapid breathing
- Rapid heartbeat
- Sunken eyes
- Lack of energy, weakness
What is Heat Exhaustion?
Heat exhaustion takes place when you are exposed to high temperatures for a long time and your body lacks the proper amount of fluids and/or the proper amount of salt.
Signs of heat exhaustion from a lack of fluids include the symptoms of dehydration (above), plus extreme thirst and loss of consciousness.
Signs of heat exhaustion from a lack of salt include nausea, vomiting, muscle cramps and dizziness.
According to WebMD, other common signs of heat exhaustion are:
- Stomach cramps
- Extreme sweating
What is Heatstroke?
When your internal body temperature reaches 105° and you are unable to cool down. Recovery from heatstroke depends upon how long it takes your body to return to its normal temperature. If you have had heatstroke in the past, then you are at a higher risk of getting it again.
What to do in case of heatstroke:
- Get out of direct sunlight or go into an air conditioned environment
- Take off extra clothing
- Apply ice or cold packs to your neck, back, groin and armpits to cool off your body
- Seek immediate medical attention
Here’s how you can avoid heat-related illnesses:
- Take frequent water breaks even if you don’t feel thirsty. Also drink beverages containing electrolytes like Gatorade to replenish lost body salts.
- Avoid working outside in high heat for long periods or take breaks in the shade.
- Check the color of your urine to make sure you are drinking enough. If it is dark, it may mean you’re not taking in enough liquids.
- Wear light-colored clothes with light, loose fabrics.
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