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6 March 2020

Be Aware – is it heat exhaustion or heat-stroke?

The warm weather is set to stick around for a while yet – so it is important to continue taking steps to ensure you stay healthy on the job and in the heat!

Heat-related illnesses are common complaints, and not just for people who work outdoors. Exercising intensively, dehydration due to too much alcohol or spending too long in the heat (even if you are at the beach) can take a toll on your health when combined with higher temperatures.

If you do start to feel unwell, it’s important to know the difference between heat stroke or the less-serious heat exhaustion so you can take the right steps to look after yourself.

Here are the symptoms to look out for…

Heat Exhaustion:

  • Feeling sick – usually due to dehydration
  • Racing heartbeat
  • Sweaty and weak
  • Nausea

Important! Check your temperature to make sure it is below 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius). If it is, the above feelings indicate exhaustion and can be treated by moving to an air-conditioned or cooler location, drink lots of (cool, not ice-cold) fluids including hydralytes like sports drinks and coconut water, and take a cold shower, bath or swim. If your temperate rises above 104 degrees, see a professional.

Heat Stroke:

  • Body temperature of 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius) or higher
  • Mental or behavioural changes, such as confusion, slurred speech, agitation, or seizures
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • If your skin feels hot and dry to the touch, or moist if you have been exercising
  • Flushed skin
  • Rapid or shallow breathing

If your temperature goes over 104 degrees, your body is overheated and you need to receive immediate medical treatment to prevent potentially significant damage to the brain, heart, and kidneys. Take what steps you can to reduce your temperate while waiting for, or en route to, a medical professional.

Take precautions, be prepared and stay aware to avoid heat-related illness and keep your body happy and healthy!