Beat the Heat

On our summertime “road trip,” we’re making stops at facilities across the country where the weather is heating up.

Warmer temperatures like these are perfect for outdoor activities like swimming, tending to your garden and flower beds or hitting the playground with your family. But, there are risks that come along with warmer weather.

Heat related illnesses can take a dangerous turn quickly, which is why it’s important to be aware of the symptoms and know the steps you can take to avoid them. Here’s information on three common heat related illnesses and how to treat them:

Heat cramps
These can occur when your body lacks water and salt, typically due to sweating. You’ll develop painful cramps or muscle spasms in your legs, abdomen or shoulders.
Treatment: Drink water throughout the day, as well as electrolyte drinks to help replace the sodium lost in sweat. Massage the cramps to help relieve pain.

Heat exhaustion
If your body doesn’t have enough fluids or body salts available, heat exhaustion can occur. Some signs of this are weakness, fatigue, clammy skin, dizziness and headaches.
Treatment: Move to a cool place and drink an electrolyte drink or water. Loosen clothing and apply cold compresses. Elevate feet.
 
Heatstroke
This is a life-threatening heat disorder where the body stops sweating and regulating heat, causing body temperatures to rise. Other symptoms include chills, confusion, dry and hot skin, delirium, convulsions or unconsciousness.
Treatment: Heatstroke is a serious and dangerous condition and you need to seek help and get medical attention by calling 9-1-1 immediately. You’ll need to cool the person down with cool (not ice) water, soaking clothes, while medical help is on its way.

How to Avoid Heat Related Illness at Work and at Home

  • Drink plenty of liquids continually throughout the day. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty because at that point, there’s a good chance you’re already on your way to being dehydrated.
  • Certain beverages like alcohol, coffee, sodas and energy drinks aren’t the best at helping you hydrate. During the hot summer months, try trading out drinks like these for flavored waters, sparkling water, and low-calorie sports drinks or drink mixes.
  • Take breaks to cool down if possible, especially if you notice you’re getting a headache or you are starting to feel overheated.
  • Wear lightweight, light colored clothing when working out in the sun, as well as sunscreen to prevent burns.
  • If possible, conduct outdoor work during cooler times in the day like early morning or late evenings.

And remember, it’s everyone’s responsibility to be aware of other employee’s behaviors and their safety practices. If a team member is showing symptoms of any of these conditions, alert a supervisor and help them cool off.

What are some of your favorite tips for staying safe during hot weather? Share in the comments below!

This article is part of the 2019 summer safety series, featuring tips on how you can stay safe both at work and at home during these warmer months. Check back each month for a new safety topic with healthy tips that can benefit you and your family.

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Numbers You Should Know

Healthy Life Center: 877-365-0051
Benefits Service Center: 1-866-481-4922
Your Choice Advocate: 1-855-733-7295
Amwell: 1-844-SEE-DOCS (1-844-733-3627)
HR Live: 1-855-4 HR LIVE (1-855-447-5483) or contact through this form
Mohawk Support Center: x26400 or 800-241-4900, x26400
 
North GA Inclement Weather Hotlines
Whitfield: 706-272-4848
Murray: 706-422-6100
Gordon/Chattooga: 706-624-2500