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Signs of heat exhaustion: What everyone should know

On Behalf of | May 9, 2021 | Workplace Illness

The weather is getting warmer out there, and more and more workers will soon be feeling the heat — literally.

Whether you work construction or in a factory, it can be difficult to cope with the summer temperatures. Heat exhaustion — which can easily lead to heat stroke and death — is a real danger. Knowing the signs of trouble can help you avert a real tragedy.

What are the symptoms of heat exhaustion?

While anybody can suffer from heat exhaustion, new employees and employees with pre-existing medical conditions like diabetes or heart disease may be particularly vulnerable. New employees haven’t had a chance to acclimate to the heat, while employees with health conditions may simply not have the stamina they think they have (or they may be on medications that make heat intolerance worse).

If you see a co-worker or employee struggling with the following symptoms, take action:

  • Heavy sweating
  • Muscle cramps
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Nausea
  • Weak, rapid pulse
  • Fatigue
  • Confusion
  • Cool skin with goosebumps

Anybody with these kinds of symptoms needs to immediately stop their work and rest in a cool, shaded area. They need fluids — water or sports drinks, preferably. If they don’t seem to improve fairly quickly, aren’t able to talk or pass out, call for emergency medical assistance. You may end up saving their life.

What if you’re the person who suffers heat exhaustion?

A sudden heat wave, changes in your own physiology due to age and certain medications can take even a seasoned worker like you by surprise. Heat stress can creep up on you — and you may end up flat on the ground before anybody realizes what’s happening.

If you’re injured by heat exposure on the job, you have the right to expect workers’ compensation to step in and provide the benefits you need while you recover. If your claim has been denied or you feel that you’re not being treated fairly, contact an attorney for guidance.