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For a lot of people, summertime may mean sunny, comfortable day’s ideal for long walks,
picnics, and beaches. However, the temperatures are soaring and it is important for all of us
to be aware of the effects of rising temperatures.

Hot working conditions may pose particular hazards to health and that is why it is important
to be guided of the various injuries and illnesses linked with heat stress, and the proper heat
stress management.

The body protects itself from heat by three mechanisms: sweating, altering the flow of blood,
and breathing. The body’s first response is circulating blood to the skin, increasing skin
temperature and allowing it to “give off” some heat. In heavy work, one’s muscles require
more blood flow thus reducing the amount of blood available for the skin to release heat.

Sweating is another way that helps one’s body to “cool off”; however, only when levels of
humidity are low enough to permit sweat to evaporate, as well as if salts and water lost
through sweating is replaced. If the body overheats, “heat stress” condition occurs, and can
lead to several problems including heat cramps, heat rash, heat exhaustion, fainting, or heat

In the majority of cases, heat stress may

be prevented, or at least, the risk of developing

heat stress can be reduced. Effective heat

stress management provides assistance on

how to recognize heat stress and prevent it.

Here are some simple ways of proper heat

stress management to prevent heat stress:

HEAT RASHES are the most common problem in HEAT STROKE occurs when the body's system of
hot work environments. Prickly heat is manifested as temperature regulation fails and body temperature rises
red papules and usually appears in areas where the to critical levels Heat stroke is a medical emergency.
clothing is restrictive. As sweating increases, these The primary signs and symptoms of heat stroke are
papules give rise to a prickling sensation. Prickly heat confusion; irrational behavior; loss of consciousness;
occurs in skin that is persistently wetted by convulsions; a lack of sweating (usually); hot, dry skin;
unevaporated sweat, and heat rash papules may and an abnormally high body temperature, e.g., a rectal
become infected if they are not treated. In most cases, temperature of 41°C (105.8°F). If body temperature is
heat rashes will disappear when the affected too high, it causes death.
individual returns to a cool environment.

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HEAT CRAMPS are usually caused by HEAT COLLAPSE ("Fainting"). In heat

performing hard physical labor in a hot collapse, the brain does not receive enough
environment. These cramps have been attributed
to an electrolyte imbalance caused by sweating. oxygen because blood pools in the
It is important to understand that cramps can be extremities. As a result, the exposed
caused by both too much and too little salt.
2 HEAT STRESS 5 individual may lose consciousness. This
Cramps appear to be caused by the lack of water reaction is similar to that of heat exhaustion
replenishment. Because sweat is a hypotonic
solution (±0.3% NaCl), excess salt can build up and does not affect the body's heat balance.
in the body if the water lost through sweating is However, the onset of heat collapse is rapid
not replaced. Water must be taken every 15 to 20 and unpredictable
minutes in hot environments.
HEAT FATIGUE. A factor that predisposes an HEAT EXHAUSTION. The signs and symptoms of
individual to heat fatigue is lack of acclimatization. The heat exhaustion are headache, nausea, vertigo, weakness,
signs and symptoms of heat fatigue include impaired thirst, and giddiness. Fortunately, this condition responds
performance of skilled sensor motor, mental, or vigilance readily to prompt treatment. Heat exhaustion should not be
jobs. There is no treatment for heat fatigue except to dismissed lightly, however, for several reasons. Often
remove the heat stress before a more serious heat-related fainting is associated with heat exhaustion and can be
condition develops. dangerous; moreover, the victim may be injured when he
or she faints. Also, the signs and symptoms seen in heat
exhaustion are similar to those of heat stroke, a medical

Heat stress management if effectively practiced reduces, prevents, or eliminates the harmful
effects of heat stroke

1. Anyone suffering from heat exhaustion should be removed from the hot environment and
given fluid replacement. They should also be encouraged to get adequate rest.

2. If there are signs of possible heat stroke, professional medical treatment should be
obtained immediately. The person should be placed in a shady area and the outer
clothing should be removed. His skin should be wetted and air movement around him
should be increased to improve evaporative cooling until professional methods of cooling
are initiated and the seriousness of the condition can be assessed. Fluids should be
replaced as soon as possible. The medical outcome of an episode of heat stroke
depends on the victim's physical fitness and the timing and effectiveness of first aid


1. Clothing
Wear lightweight, loose fitting clothing that permits sweat to evaporate –light colored
clothing absorbs lesser heat than dark colors. If working outdoors, wearing a
lightweight cap with good brim, will keep off the sun from the face and head.
2. Drinking
Drinking a lot of fluids, particularly when the color of one’s urine is dark yellow, will
replace the lost body fluids from sweating –one quart every hour might be necessary.
Sports drink or water is suggested; avoid beverages like iced tea, coffee, and cola,
as caffeine is a diuretic that makes one urinate more.
3. Work schedule
If possible, schedule heavy work during cooler times of the day. If not, rotate heavy
work in heat with lighter work in areas that are cooler. Minimizing the hours spent in
extreme heat when doing heavy work will lessen the possibilities of heat stress.
4. Eating habits
Eat well-balanced meals at regular intervals
5. Do not eat if you do not have water to drink (a person can live for weeks without
eating but only a few days without water)
6. Do not use salt tablets & do not add salt to water (salt tablets cause stomach
irritation and provoke nausea and vomiting)