Heatstroke is a life-threatening condition in which the body overheat when it can no longer maintain a healthy temperature. The high body temperature in heatstroke can lead to organ damage. You can avoid heatstroke by taking precautions in very hot weather.
What is heatstroke?
Heatstroke occurs when a person’s body temperature rises from about 37°C to above 40.5°C. It is sometimes called hyperthermia.
Heatstroke needs immediate first aid to lower the body temperature as quickly as possible.
Dehydration and heat exhaustion are milder types of heat-related illnesses.
What causes heatstroke?
Heatstroke is caused by prolonged exposure to heat. You can get heatstroke inside or outside.
You can get it exercising in the heat.
The signs and symptoms of heatstroke include:
- rapid pulse and fast, shallow breathing
- trouble speaking, concentrating or coordinating movements
- sudden rise in body temperature
- hot and dry and possibly red skin, possibly with no sweat
- dry, swollen tongue
- nausea or vomiting.
Heatstroke is a medical emergency. If someone has heatstroke call triple zero (000) and ask for an ambulance.
Meanwhile, give the person sips of cool fluid if possible and lay them in a cool shady place.
Lower their body temperature any way you can, for example by:
- removing excess clothing
- sponging or spraying them with water and fanning the damp skin
- immersing them in cool water
- placing cold packs under their armpits or groin, or on the back of their neck.
Taking Measures to prevent Heat stroke….
During prolonged work in the heat our body can sweat up to one litre an hour. Unless this fluid is replaced by drinking, progressive dehydration will result.
Thirst may not trigger drinking until fluid that is equal to one to two per cent of body weight has been lost – at which level; workers are at increased risk of developing heat-related illness. Food must be consumed at meal breaks in order to replace electrolytes and maintain energy.
Ways to maintain adequate hydration:
- Start work in a well-hydrated state and maintain this with regular drinking to keep pace with sweat losses. To improve hydration a conscious effort needs to made to drink fluids at a faster rate than they are being lost through sweating and other means.
- Workers exposed to heat stress need to drink between 600 milliliters and one litre of water per hour in summer.
- Manual workers: approximately one litre per hour of plain cool water (supplemented by frequent meal breaks) and machinery operators 600 milliliters per hour of water.
- Drink 150-250 milliliters of cool fluids every 15 minutes, rather than consume a one litre drink every now and again.
- Avoid caffeinated drinks.
- Increase your intake of fluids if your urine is dark (the normal colour should be pale yellow).
- If you suffer any dehydration symptoms report to a first aider immediately.
- Drink cool water at frequent intervals to prevent dehydration
- Wear loose fitting clothing to promote good air circulation. (inside preferably short sleeved shirt/short) If working outside preferably (light long sleeved shirt / trousers)
Controlling exposure to UV radiation through the implementation of our comprehensive sun safety policy.
Ways of controlling exposure include:
- Dark coloured fabrics such as greens, blues and reds that inhibit UV light penetration
- Close weave fabrics provide the best form of sun protection, as they block out most of the UVR
- Long sleeves, a collar and long loose trousers will increase the sun protection of clothing when working outside.
- A hat with a broad brim (10-12 cm) or a flap at the back to shade both the face and back of the neck and a close weave
- Avoid a hat lined with white fabric as it will reflect UVR.
- Sun protection factor (SPF) of 30+, broad-spectrum (protects against UVA and UVB), water-resistant, check the use by date.
Personal Protection Equipment
Other PPE that you might be required to use or wear
- Sun Hats Broad brimmed hat, SPF 30+ sunscreen (as per manufactures instructions) when working outside. To help provide protection against the Sun
- Outside preferably (light long sleeved shirt / trousers) To Help provide protection against the Sun.