What Is Heat Stroke and How Can It Be Avoided?
We all know that working in a hot environment has lots of risk. Workers who are directly exposed to intense sunlight or to heat-emitting equipment may suffer from heat stress, which can further result in various health conditions or injuries. These can range from simple muscle pains to serious complications and debilitating illnesses.
One of the most serious and life-threatening ailments caused by heat stress in the workplace is heat stroke. It is an emergency condition that can eventually lead to multi-organ failure, coma or even death. This is why it should not be taken lightly and prevention is important.
What Is Heat Stroke?
Normally, your body generates heat through metabolism. This internal source of heat is easily dissipated through the process of sweating and heat radiation through the skin. Thus, the body is able to control its temperature and maintains a stable stated due to this natural process.
However, if there are external sources of extreme heat, or overexertion through physical activities takes place, the body’s temperature-regulating mechanism may not function too well. This will result in an abnormally elevated core body temperature (up to 106 F/41.1 C or even higher), which is a severe form of hyperthermia known as Heat Stroke.
How Is It Associated with Dehydration?
Though it has been proven that a heat stroke may take place even if a victim never experienced any prior heat injury, the condition frequently arises as a progression from a less-severe heat-related sickness. More often than not, this stems from dehydration, or a combination of a number of minor heat related ailments. With the shortage and heavy loss of body fluid, the body can’t cool down through sweating since there are no fluids that can be used to produce sweat. This disruption of body temperature levels will most likely result into a heat stroke.
What Are the Symptoms?
The main indication of a heat stroke is a core body temperature of 106 F/41.1C or higher. You should also check out for other symptoms, which may include the following:
- Severe throbbing headache
- Dizziness and light-headedness
- Rapid breathing and heartbeat
- Reduced or no sweat
- Nausea and vomiting
- Confusion and Disorientation
- Seizure and unconsciousness
How to Prevent Heat Stroke?
Heat Stroke occurs when your body temperature rises to abnormal levels. The most effective way to prevent it from happening is by helping your body cool down whenever you are exposed to extreme heat in the workplace. Here are some tips that may be useful:
- Don’t hesitate to take breaks from your work whenever you feel exhausted. Stay away from direct sunlight or from any heat source when resting.
- Avoid dehydration by constantly drinking water and by replenishing your lost electrolytes.
- Wear breathable protective equipment that will enable your body to avoid the absorption of heat and will also allow body heat to dissipate effectively.
- Consider taking advantage of heat stress management products such as the ones offered by us here at Thorzt.
- Most importantly, practice healthy eating habits and consume food high in water and electrolyte content.
Heat Stroke can be fatal, especially if it is not treated properly and immediately. If this condition occurs in your workplace, it is important to seek medical help right away and treat it as a life threatening situation. It is also advisable to cool down the victim’s body while you wait for the arrival of emergency medical services.
For more information download our FREE Heat Stress and Hydration White Papers.