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Fact Sheet

COPING WITH HEAT STRESS

Whether you're working or playing outdoors, hot humid weather can be more than uncomfortable. Unchecked exposure to heat 90 degrees Fahrenheit and above can result in illnesses such as rashes, cramps, fatigue, strokes, and even death. Whether you're outside for work or play, use these common sense tips:

Drink plenty of water before, after and during any physical activity. Water is the best fluid replenisher. Be aware that alcohol and beverages containing caffeine (colas, iced teas, coffee, etc.) can be dehydrating. Even though you may not feel thirsty, your body may be dehydrated.

Pay close attention to weather reports and, if possible, adjust your schedule accordingly. Try to do the most strenuous tasks in the early morning or evening when temperatures are cooler. Allow yourself time to adjust to the hotter weather.

Wear light colored, loosely-woven cotton clothing. The light color reflects the sun and the natural fabric allows for air circulation. Wearing a wide brimmed hat can help keep you cool as well. Be sure exposed skin is protected with a sun screen of SPF 15 or above.

When working outdoors be sure to take frequent breaks out of the sun in shady, cool areas.

If you take prescription medication, ask your doctor about any adverse reactions to heat or sunlight.

Check on elderly family members and friends or those who spend a majority of their time indoors. Make sure they are comfortable and that their homes have good ventilation.

Learn and recognize the early symptoms of heat-related illness, including nausea and dizziness. Get out of the heat immediately and seek medical help if appropriate.


Acknowledgments:
National Safety Council





Contact the South Dakota Safety Council at sdsc@southdakotasafetycouncil.org
or phone 605-361-7785 or 1-800-952-5539.