There is still plenty of hot weather ahead, and if you’re working in one of those cabling and electrical jobs that requires you to be outdoors, you need to remain aware of the dangers that excessive heat can inflict.

Although thousands of workers become sick each year from over-exposure to heat, you don’t have to become one of them if you learn the warning signs and take the proper action. Here are some of the things you need to know to keep you from being the victim of high temperatures:

Heatstroke can be deadly

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) warns that heatstroke is the most serious of heat-stress disorders, which can also include heat exhaustion, heat cramps, and heat rashes. As the body temperature increases, sweaty hands and fogged-up goggles can also pose a safety threat. Workers at the highest risk are those who are overweight, have heart disease, take certain medications, or are 65 years of age or older.

In some cases, the body’s temperature can rise to 106 degrees Fahrenheit or higher in several minutes as the body stops sweating. The resulting heat stroke can cause death or permanent disability without emergency treatment. It’s critical to recognize heat stroke and take swift action.

The symptoms of heatstroke

Whenever the body no longer sweats, and its temperature reaches dangerous levels, you’ll notice the following:

  • Dry, hot reddish skin without sweat
  • Strong, rapid pulse
  • Confusion
  • Slurred speech
  • Chills

Other heat stresses can also be dangerous

Heat exhaustion occurs as the body loses water and salt. Look for these symptoms:

  • Excessive sweating
  • Muscle cramps
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Clammy skin
  • Confusion
  • Flushed complexion

Heat cramps are painful muscle cramps that happen because of low salt levels and excessive sweating.  Symptoms of heat cramps are muscle pain or spasms in the abdomen, arm, or legs.

Heat rash is an irritation of the skin caused by blocked pores that trap sweat under the skin. Heat rash can appear as a red cluster of pimples or small blisters, typically on the neck, upper chest, groin area, under the breasts, and in elbow creases.

Keep yourself safe in hot weather with these tips

  • Drink lots of fluids
  • Stay away from alcohol and caffeine
  • Stick with lightweight, light-colored, and loose-fitting clothing
  • Slow down and work at an even pace
  • Take your breaks out of the sun
  • Keep a damp rag around your neck
  • Use sunscreen and protect your head
  • Avoid the direct sun if possible
  • Eat smaller meals that include fruits and natural juices.

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