heat-strokeRising Temps Increase Risk of Heat-Related Illness

Why it matters and what you can do to prevent it

Safety first. You’ve heard the saying multiple times, but with rising seasonal temperatures projected throughout and August, it’s critical for agricultural workers to be aware of the seriousness of heat-related illnesses and understand what they can do to stay safe.

The Rural Health Initiative cares about your safety and health and reminds you heat-related illness is both serious, yet preventable.

Heat Index – What it Means & Why It Matters
The heat index is how hot the weather feels. It is determined by the air temperature and relative humidity. The higher the heat index, the higher the risk for heat-related illness.

Individuals at a higher risk include outdoor workers, especially those who:

  • Work in direct sunlight, which can increase the heat index values by 15 degrees
  • Wear heavy protective clothing
  • Have been affected by heat-related illness before

Know the Types and Symptoms of Heat-Related Illness

Type Symptoms
Heat Exhaustion Dizziness, headache, sweaty skin, fast heartbeat, nausea, vomiting, weakness, muscle cramps
Heat Stroke Red, hot, dry skin. High body temperature, confusion, fainting, convulsions

If you or someone else has any of these symptoms:

  1. Move to a shaded area immediately
  2. Drink a cup of cool water, and
  3. Remove any heavy clothing.
  4. If symptoms continue, call for help. Heat stroke is a more severe condition than heat exhaustion and can result in death.

Ways to Keep Yourself Safe

  1. Drink a small cup of cool water every 15 minutes, even if you don’t feel thirsty.
    Avoid caffeine and alcoholic beverages.
  2. Wear a hat and light colored clothing.OSHA Heat Safety Tool app
  3. Schedule breaks in the shade.
  4. Gradually increase workload to build a tolerance for working in the heat.
    This process is called acclimatization.
  5. Download the OSHA Heat Safety Tool app (pictured to the right), available in both English and Spanish for Android and iPhone devices, to calculate the heat index, risk level, and learn protective measures (precautions) you can take to prevent illness.

Source: Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Oregon OSHA

To learn more about the Rural Health Initiative, visit www.wiruralhealth.org, connect with us on Facebook and Twitter (@rhihealth), contact Program Manager Shaya Hintz at [email protected] or call corporate office at 715-524-1488.