Understanding Heat-Related Illnesses

Your body has systems in place to control the internal temperature.

Heat stress is a condition where your body loses its ability to control the internal temperature and finds it difficult to remove excess heat. It causes the body’s core temperature to increase (above 37.5°C), resulting in conditions like heat rashes and muscle cramps. 

It can also cause your heart rate to increase, irritability and makes it difficult to focus on a task. In severe cases, heat stress can lead to heat stroke and heat exhaustion causing very high body temperatures, confusion, nausea, further dehydration, fainting, and even death.

People who work in industrial workplaces are always at risk of dehydration. 

Heat Rash 

Heat Rash

Symptoms: Mild inflammation of clogged sweat ducts. It may occur from profuse sweating and wearing heavy work uniforms and PPE. The blocked ducts prevent the sweat coming the the skin surface to evaporate. The rash is characterized by the small raised bumps (like coarse sandpaper) spread evenly across small patches of skin.

Treatment: Move to a cooler, less humid environment. Keep the affected area dry.

Heat Cramps

Heat Cramps

Symptoms: Heat cramps are muscle spasms that result from loss of large amounts of electrolytes and water. Sweating depletes the body’s salt and fluid levels that can cause these muscle cramps (especially when undertaking strenuous activities or work). This can be dangerous when working in certain job situations. Heat cramps are associated with cramping in the abdomen, arms and calves.

Treatment: Drink water and electrolyte replacement solution like THORZT. Rest in a cool environment and do not return to strenuous activity until the cramps have ended.

Heat Exhaustion

Heat Exhaustion
Symptoms: Heat exhaustion is the early symptom of heat stroke and the body’s response to an excessive loss of fluid, and essential electrolytes, usually through sweating.

It is characterized by:

  • Heavy sweating
  • Tiredness
  • Dizziness
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Paleness
  • Weakness
  • Cold and Clammy skin
  • Fast and weak pulse
  • Fast, shallow breathing

If steps are not taken to reduce body temperature, heat exhaustion can worsen and become heat stroke.

Treatment: Stop work immediately. Replenish fluid (with electrolytes like THORZT). Move to a cool place, out of the sun and away from any heat sources. Take action to cool down (remove heavy PPE clothes, apply cooling apparel like THORZT Chill Towel, THORZT cooling vest, THORZT Scarf, sponge with cold water. Cool down further by taking a cool shower or bath. Seek medical attention if symptoms worsen or last longer than one hour. 

Heat Stroke

Heat Stroke

Symptoms: Heat strokes is the most serious form of heat injury. It is caused when your body temperature rises >40°C by prolonged exposure to excessive heat or heat and humidity. The heat-regulating mechanisms of the body become overwhelmed and unable to cool yourself down, causing the body temperature to climb uncontrollably.

It is characterized by:

  • High body temperature
  • Disorientation
  • Confusion
  • Throbbing headache
  • Rapid strong pulse
  • Red hot dry skin
  • Unconsciousness
  • Nausea

Treatment: Call 000 for immediate medical assistance. Move to a cool place with circulating air. Remove or loosen any unnecessary clothing, including PPE Use a fan to direct a gentle airflow over the body. Apply THORZT chill towel, THORZT cooling vests, THORZT scarf or cold packs or wrapped ice to neck, groin and armpits. Monitor body temperature and continue cooling efforts until body temperature drops below 38.5°C. If fully conscious, drink cool, but not cold, water with electrolyte solution like THORZT.

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