Heat is responsible for more deaths than tornadoes and hurricanes combined.
It’s true. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, heat is the No. 1 weather-related killer. It’s pretty shocking since heat stress can be 100 percent avoided. Let’s take a minute to review the four types of heat stress, so we can learn what symptoms to look out for before the unbearable heat of the summer starts setting in.
4 Types of Heat Stress
- Heat Cramps occur when there are low salt levels in muscles as a result of extreme sweating
- Heat Syncope is dizziness or collapsing due to the increase in temperature and will occur with standing for long periods of time or getting up too fast from a sitting position.
- Heat Exhaustion is an excessive loss of water and salt (through sweating). People who are working in sweltering environments often show heat exhaustion.
- Heat Stroke is the most dangerous and starts when the body becomes unable to control its temperature and can increase to 106°F or higher within 10 minutes.
Don’t forget these tips to stay cool:
- Drink plenty of water. I mean, Captain Obvious here. Staying fully hydrated is paramount in our fight against heat stress. If you can remember to plan ahead, freeze your water bottles overnight and then during the day, the ice will melt into refreshing cold water.
- Wear loose clothing. Lightweight cotton and dry-fit are good options that will allow for better air circulation and can even wick away perspiration. Trade in your wool fitted cap for a flex fit mesh option.
- Cold Towel or Compress. Submerge a washcloth in cold water (or get a cold compress) and place it over your pulse points. Those points will help cool off your body temperature faster by having the area interact with cold water.
- Extra T-Shirt. Roll up an extra T-shirt, pack it in your lunchbox and place in a refrigerator when you arrive at work (or your destination). At any time the heat starts kicking in, you have a cold T-shirt ready right away!
To Beat the Heat, you have to stay informed. Keep hydrated, wear loose and lightweight clothing and don’t forget to Go Fan Yourself!