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Summer is coming and with it, the potential for heat stress. When conditions are hot, keep cool and follow these tips for good health:

Tips for managing heat

  • Drink lots of water/fluids (1 cup every 15-20 min.)
  • Pace yourself to acclimatize to the heat especially in the beginning of summer
  • Try to schedule more strenuous tasks at cooler times/days
  • Take breaks regularly in cooler areas
  • Wear light, loose, breathable clothing
  • Use fans or air conditioners
  • Splash yourself with cool water
  • Limit sun exposure, cover head, use 15 SPF+ sunscreen
  • Avoid using the stove or other heat emitting equipment
  • Report concerns to your supervisor
  • Learn to recognize signs and symptoms of heat stress

IHS Clients are notified to turn on fans/air conditioning in advance of IHS visits if possible and/or to allow for extra breaks or a reduction in strenuous tasks.

Monitor Those at Higher Risk

  • Seniors may not compensate efficiently or sense/respond to temperature changes.
  • Infants/children rely on others to regulate their environments and provide liquids.
  • People who are overweight may retain more body heat.
  • People who overexert may become dehydrated and susceptible to heat sickness.
  • People with pre-existing medical conditions or taking medications may be more affected by heat and should speak to their medical professional.

Heat Stress occurs when body temperature rises too rapidly (can rise to 106°F + within 10-15 minutes), sweating mechanism fails, body is unable to cool down. Can cause death or permanent disability.

Warning Signs

  • Extremely high body temperature (103°F+ orally)
  • Heat rash and/or red, hot, dry skin (no sweating)
  • Heat cramps
  • Rapid, strong pulse
  • Throbbing headache
  • Dizziness, fainting and/or blurred vision
  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Extreme fatigue and/or weakness
  • Panting and/or heavy, rapid breathing
  • Unconsciousness

STOP all activity if you feel lightheaded, confused, weak, faint or any of the other warning signs below.

Get into a cool area and rest.

Notify your supervisor or get emergency assistance.

What to do

  • Call for emergency assistance and notify supervisor.
  • Move to a cooler area.
  • Cool rapidly using whatever methods you can: immerse in tub of cool water or cool shower; spray with cool hose water; sponge with cool water; wrap in a cool, wet sheet and fan vigorously.
  • Monitor body temperature, and continue cooling until temperature drops to 101-102°F.