With the hot summer months upon us, there’s a great need to keep yourself healthy in the heat. Heat illness is responsible for deaths around the world; even in the US, it can affect anyone, and it’s 100% preventable. By understanding the signs of heat illness and ways to treat and prevent it, you can keep yourself safe and healthy while you’re out this summer.
Signs of heat illness
A number of heat-related illnesses can overtake you if you’re out in the sun too long, especially if you aren’t used to the heat and you don’t drink enough water. By recognizing the symptoms, you can treat heat illnesses as quickly as possible when you notice them in yourself or others. Some signs of heat illness are:
— Redness and flushed skin
If you notice any of these symptoms, don’t put off seeking treatment. Every year, the CDC reports about 670 casualties as a result of heat illnesses that went untreated: deaths which were completely preventable. Those most at risk include children and the elderly, as well as anyone who works outdoors in the heat or who isn’t used to extreme heat.
How to prevent heat illness
To avoid heat illness, OSHA recommends the following precautions:
1. Drink water every 15 minutes to stay hydrated, whether you’re thirsty or not.
2. Wear light-colored clothing (white is always the best) that is thin and loose fitting.
3. If you’re new to a job in the heat, gradually increase your amount of work to become acclimated to the weather.
4. Take breaks in the shade in order to cool down.
5. If you own a business, make drinking water available to your employees and customers/the general public.
What is OSHA
OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, works to educate employers and workers, as well as the general public, about staying safe, especially in the workplace.
Along with campaigns to spread awareness about issues like the dangers of heat illness, OSHA officials work to show people why maintaining a safe workplace is important.
For example, raising awareness about the need for regular load testing is a more job-specific campaign that OSHA put together, and is just one of the many instances of OSHA’s efforts to create safer work environments.