Now that summer is here, heat stroke (when the body temperature rises above 40°C) occurs--sometimes insidiously--in poorly air-conditioned work environments or outside. It can be misleading because the symptoms (dizziness, nausea, fatigue, headaches) are interpreted as harmless, but in reality, they can intensify, causing irreparable damages and even death. Are you working in intense heat conditions? Don’t lose your cool and follow these 3 useful tips to avoid the worst!
1. Stay hydrated!
Drink water and avoid alcohol, soda, coffee or sweetened juice. Water is the best drink to quench your thirst and stay hydrated. The recommendation is one glass of water (250 ml) every 20 minutes, and even every 10 to 15 minutes if the temperature rises above 39°C. Drink even if you are not thirsty as signs of dehydration may not be obvious.
2. Protect yourself from the sun
It may seem counterintuitive, but the hotter it gets, the more you must cover yourself! Insolation due to sunburns on the head is common. It can cause confusion and even fainting spells. Wear a light hat or even better, a cap that will protect the head and facial skin. When possible, splash cool water on the back of your neck. Wearing light clothes that promote air circulation is recommended in hot weather. Choose long sleeves and pants covering the entire body. When working in extreme heat conditions, it is recommended to wear reflective clothing or even clothing insulated with air, water or ice. At the same time, save your skin and select a sunscreen with an SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of at least 30. Also, protect your eyes using sunglasses with the highest possible level of protection (95% to 97%) that will block out UVA and UVB rays. A hat, long-sleeve shirt, long pants, sunscreen and sunglasses, all the items you need to be better protected when working in the sun or extreme heat conditions.
3. Listen to your body and watch out for symptoms
Despite all precautions in place, when working in oppressive heat, stay vigilant and pay attention to heat stroke symptoms. Here are the main signs:
- Core body temperature higher than 40°C
- Intense sweating
- Hot, red and dry skin
- Unusually quick pulse
- Mental confusion, off behaviour
- Muscle cramps
- Sudden fatigue
- Fainting spells, convulsions