Heat Stress

Heat illness starts at heat exhaustion, and if not treated properly, leads to heat stroke. Take action immediately if you notice anyone with the symptoms found in the sidebar at the left of this page.

Avoid Heat Related Illnesses - It is important to drink plenty of fluids and keep cool while working outside.
•    Drink water often throughout the day; don’t wait until you’re thirsty to get a drink. At least a quart of water per hour is recommended.
•    Stay away from soda, coffee, tea and alcoholic drinks that dehydrate the body.
•    Avoid large meals before working in the heat.
•    Some prescriptions can make you more susceptible to heat illnesses. Check with your doctor or pharmacist to see if any medicine you are taking could affect you while working in the heat.
•    Wear light-weight fabric, such as cotton, to help keep your body cool.
•    Plan to do the heaviest work at the coolest part of the day. This is usually between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m.
•    Take frequent, short breaks in shaded areas to cool down.
•    Do not take salt tablets, unless recommended by your doctor. Most people receive enough salt in their diet to account for the salt that is lost through sweating.

Heat Facts
•    You are more likely to suffer from a heat related illness on humid days.
•    If you are not used to working in the heat, you are more likely to suffer from a heat related illness. It can take your body anywhere from 5 days to 2 weeks to be acclimated to working in the heat. It is recommended that you start out by working half of the normal time and workload on the first day and then build up to a complete day by the end of the week.
•    You are more vulnerable to heat illness if you have suffered in the past.
•    During the course of the day, you can produce as much as 2 or 3 gallons of sweat. Replenish this fluid by drinking liquids so that you do not suffer from a heat related illness.

Heat Illness Treatment Tips
•    If someone feels overheated, move them into a cooler, preferably air conditioned area. Watch the person, and seek medical attention if needed.
•    Fan the person to increase cooling.
•    Have the person drink plenty of fluids.
•    If the person goes into convulsions or shows symptoms of heat stroke, soak his or her clothes with cool water and call for help immediately.

Article provided by:  Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service