Summer months mean swimming pools, snow cones, and backyard barbecues. They also mean high temperatures and an increased risk of heat-related illness. The very young, elderly, athletes, and workers who perform manual labor outdoors are most at risk to suffer from heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
Heat exhaustion is brought on by working in a hot, humid environment, causing the body to rapidly lose fluids and overheat. The loss of electrolytes accompanied by not adequately replacing fluids sends the body into a mild form of shock. Symptoms include:
- Pale skin that is cool, moist
- Profuse sweating
- Muscle Cramps
- Headaches, nausea
To treat heat exhaustion, move the affected person to a cool, shaded area. Provide water or sports drinks to replenish lost electrolytes. Apply cool water to the skin.
Heat stroke is life threatening. It occurs when the body’s cooling system, controlled by the brain, stops working. The body temperature is so high that the affected person is at risk of brain damage or damage to other vital organs. Heat stroke is most commonly seen in people whose cooling mechanisms are impaired by a medical condition or medication. The other cause is strenuous work in a hot environment. Symptoms include:
- Dizziness, confusion, or unconsciousness
- Skin is flushed, hot and dry
- May be hyperventilating
If you suspect someone is suffering from heat stroke, call 911 immediately. If the affected person is conscious, place them in a cool bath of water until emergency technicians arrive. Alternatively, moisten their skin with lukewarm water and fan them with cool air.
In many cases, proper hydration could have prevented the onset of heat related illness. When working in the heat remember to drink plenty of water. Take breaks in cool, shaded areas and avoid working outside in the middle of the day when temperatures are the hottest.
If you or someone you love has suffered a heat related illness that may have been due to an employer’s negligence, contact Wausau Personal Injury lawyers at Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ® by calling 715-387-4242.