May Industry Highlight: Avoiding Heat Stress

It may not seem like it with all the rain San Diego has had this year, but the warmer months are approaching! It’s time to gear up for summer and that includes staying cool. When our body heats up faster than it can cool down, we experience heat stress. If this continues without resting, drinking water, and giving your body a break, it can quickly lead to a life or death situation.

Kaitlin Lively, from C3 Risk & Insurance had a story to share with regards to a heat stress experience she encountered as a child; “I personally experienced heat stress when I was younger while hiking with my family. It was in the low 80’s and we were on the 7th mile of a 10-mile hike. My mother heard me rambling on behind her as kids sometimes do when she realized nothing I was saying made sense. I wasn’t forming complete sentences or making any rational thoughts. When she looked back at me, she realized instantly that something was wrong. My face was bright red, but I wasn’t sweating. She immediately dumped her water bottle on my head and put a cold water bottle on my wrists and another under my arms. I had to rest for quite a while but thankfully we were close enough to hike out.”

Even for those who are acclimated to high temperatures, heat stress is a serious risk. It’s important to know the signs and symptoms of heat illness. The outcome of my experience could have been drastically different if we weren’t prepared or knew what to do in a heat stress situation.

Avoiding heat stress should be a priority in the workplace too.

Employers- it’s time to review your Heat Illness Prevention Program and ensure measures are in place to keep your employees safe. Everyone should be trained on the signs and symptoms of heat stress and first aid procedures. Make sure employees are taking frequent breaks in the shade. Allowing the body to reset its internal temperature during these rest periods yields more efficient employees and less down-time due to heat illness.