California is warm all year round, but the summer is particularly dangerous for those who must work outside in the elements. The sun is hot, water is sometimes scarce and it’s humid. This is a combination of factors that can lead to serious illness on the job.
Some of the most dangerous illnesses you face while working construction in the heat include sun poisoning, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Here is some information on how to recognize and stop these illnesses in their tracks.
1. Sun poisoning
Sun poisoning is an extreme kind of sunburn. When you suffer from a sunburn that starts to cause your skin to become inflamed, that’s the first sign that you need to get out of the sun.
Extended time spent in the sun without UV protection can lead to severe symptoms that emerge over the next four to seven days. You may develop blisters, nausea, dehydration, fever, a headache, a rapid pulse and other serious symptoms.
To prevent sun poisoning, make sure to wear sunscreen and protective clothing. Reapply your sunscreen at least every two hours, and try to limit your exposure to the sun between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
2. Heat exhaustion
Heat exhaustion is when you sweat profusely and develop a rapid pulse. It is a result of your body overheating. It is possible for heat exhaustion to lead to heat stroke if it is allowed to worsen. Symptoms may include cool, moist skin in the sun, dizziness, muscle cramps, fainting and nausea among others.
To avoid this condition, drink plenty of water and make sure to take breaks. Your body needs time to recover from the heat, so an air conditioned break room or vehicle can help.
3. Heat stroke
Heat stoke is the most serious heat-related illness. It is a medical emergency. It is caused by overexertion in the heat. A person with heat stroke typically has a high body temperature, could show signs of heat exhaustion and may be disoriented or confused. He or she may show signs of weakness or faint.
These are a few of the illnesses you could face on the job. Any one of these illnesses has the potential to worsen and cause severe pain, illness and potentially death. If you are unwell or notice a coworker with these symptoms, call for emergency assistance.