As a serious form of heat injury, it’s important to learn as much as possible about heat stroke. This is especially true if you work outdoors during the hot summer months.
Also known as sunstroke, this ailment can come on fast and lead to a variety of medical concerns that can take a toll on your body. In the most serious of cases, heat stroke can cause damage to internal organs. Some of its signs and symptoms include:
- Intense headache
- Lack of sweating, even though you’re hot
- Dry, red skin that is warm or hot to the touch
- Muscle weakness
- Vomiting and nausea
- Shallow breathing
- Behavioral changes, including disorientation
First aid is important
If you suspect you or a coworker has heat stroke, you should immediately call 911. Any delay can result in additional damage or even death.
While waiting to receive professional medical treatment, here are a few first aid tips to follow:
- Wet your skin and fan air over your body
- Use ice packs to cool yourself down, placing these on your neck, back, and armpits
- Take a cool shower, if possible
Are you at risk?
While anyone can suffer heat stroke, some people have a higher risk. For example, this often happens during the summer months when working outdoors in the heat for an extended period of time.
Some other risk factors include:
- Age. Adults over the age of 65 are more vulnerable
- Preexisting health conditions. Kidney disease, heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and alcoholism
- Medications. Sedatives, diet pills, stimulants and high blood pressure medications
After you recover
It is hoped that you receive immediate medical treatment for heat stroke, as this can help prevent any long-term damage to your body. After you make a full recovery, you are likely to be more sensitive to high temperatures in the weeks to follow.
With this in mind, it’s important to get proper rest before you resume your normal work schedule and duties.
As you recover, you may qualify to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Be sure to learn more about this as soon as possible.