OSHA: 8 things to do in the event of a heat stroke or heat exhaustion
With temperatures over 90 degrees expected over the next few days, health officials are warning people to be on the lookout for heat stroke or heat exhaustion.
Confusion, slurred speech, or unconsciousness are signs of heat stroke. When these types of symptoms are present, call 911 immediately and cool the worker with ice or cold water until help arrives.
When any of these symptoms is present, promptly provide first aid. Do not try to diagnose which illness is occurring. Diagnosis is often difficult because symptoms of multiple heat-related illnesses can occur together. Time is of the essence. These conditions can worsen quickly and result in fatalities.
If you or someone you know is experiencing a heat heat-related illness, OSHA recommends the following first aid tips:
- Take the affected person to a cooler area (e.g., shade or air conditioning).
- Cool the victim immediately. Use active cooling techniques such as:
- Immerse the worker in cold water or an ice bath. Create the ice bath by placing all of the available ice into a large container with water, standard practice in sports. This is the best method to cool someone rapidly in an emergency.
- Remove outer layers of clothing, especially heavy protective clothing.
- Place ice or cold wet towels on the head, neck, trunk, armpits, and groin.
- Use fans to circulate air around the person.
- Never leave a person with heat-related illness alone. The illness can rapidly become worse. Stay with the person.
- When in doubt, call 911!
For more on symptoms of stroke or heat exhaustion, click here.