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Many people look forward to summer and the unseasonably warm fall days. Yet, all that heat is a double-edged sword. While it might feel great, it can also prove more than a little hazardous.
In the U.S. alone, more than 650 people die each year from heat-related illnesses. The tragic part is that prevention is possible in virtually all cases of heat stroke and heat exhaustion.
If you live or work in a high-heat environment, knowing how to prevent heat exhaustion is crucial information. If you feel hazy about the details of heat exhaustion prevention, keep reading for some key tips.
One of the most important methods for preventing heat exhaustion is hydration. In the heat, the body sweat to help regulate its internal temperature.
Of course, if the heat gets high enough or you’re dealing with dry heat, the sweat can evaporate before you realize how much you’re sweating. Once you get dehydrated, the body becomes less able to sweat and regulate heat.
Make sure you get water regularly when working or just enjoying yourself in the heat.
Dress Appropriately for the Heat
As a matter of workplace safety, you must often wear specific kinds of clothing. For example, people on construction sites must typically wear heavy boots, long pants, and often some form of back support. There isn’t much you can do about it other than pay close attention and hydrate.
If you’re not at work, wear light clothing, such as shorts, t-shirts, thin pants, and light shoes. It makes heat regulation easier for your body.
Limit Strenuous Activity
While everyone needs some physical activity for health and fitness, you should limit your strenuous activity in high heat. Strenuous activity can drive up your body temperature. Pair that up with hot weather or working conditions, and it can lead to heat-related illnesses.
If you cannot avoid hard physical labor in the heat, do your best to take breaks in cooler, shaded areas. Even a slight reduction in the outside temperature can help.
If you own a business that involves employees working out in the direct sunlight, such as landscaping or construction, the last thing you want on your plate is an employee keeling over from heat exhaustion.
Get your employees some heat stress training. It’ll help them recognize and mitigate heat-related illnesses. Plus, OSHA pretty much requires it for anyone who runs businesses where employees might face a serious risk of heat exhaustion.
How to Prevent Heat Exhaustion
Whether you’re a business owner, a parent, or just someone who enjoys the outdoors, you need to know how to prevent heat exhaustion. For employers, your employees need to know it as well.
Focus on essentials. Make sure you or the people you’re in charge of have plenty of water for hydration.
Whenever possible and safe, wear light clothing. Limit strenuous activity if and where you can. If you’re an employer, provide training for employees.
Looking for more health tips? Check out the posts in our Health & Fitness section.