Outdoor workers at risk for heat illness

Jul 1, 2014 8:17 PM by Charlene Cheng

Specializing in excavation work, Lad Hoy and his crew sometimes have no choice but to work outside during the hottest parts of the day.

"If we're outside out of an air conditioner we try to stay hydrated, drink lots of water, get in the shade, take breaks once in awhile," Hoy said.

According to Shasta County Public Health, there are an average of 67 visits to the emergency room every summer due to heat-related illnesses, and that's just the ones that are reported.

Drinking water is the right idea to prevent that from happening to you, but doing it early is key.

"Drink before you feel thirsty, by the time you feel thirsty you're down by about a liter or quart of liquid," Dr. Andrew Deckert said.

It could sometimes be difficult to recognize the signs of heat-related illnesses, so it's important to look out for each other.

"If you see confusion in a person, bad headaches, or dry skin, in the context of being very hot outside, that could be a sign of a heat stroke, which is a life-threatening illness," Dr. Deckert said.

Before heat stroke hits, look out for signs of a more mild heat-related illness.

"Heat exhaustion, the symptoms to look or are if you're feeling really tired, fatigued, really sweaty, really weak, those kinds of things," Dr. Deckert said.

He adds that you should make sure to drink water, and not alcoholic, carbonated, or sugary beverages, which will only make you more dehydrated.

Outdoor workers aren't the only ones with a higher risk for heat-related illnesses.

You should also be looking out for the elderly and young children, zero to five-years-old.

Public Health officials remind parents that the interior temperature of a car can go from 80 to 123 degrees in just an hour when you park it in direct sun.


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