National Safety Month 2023 Week 3: Heat-Related Illness

We’ve partnered with the National Safety Council to recognize the month of June as National Safety Month to promote safety practices and raise awareness about potential risks. The first week, we focused on Emergency Preparedness. Last week, we focused on Slips, Trips and Falls. As we enter the third week of June, we turn our attention to a common yet often underestimated danger: heat-related illnesses.

With the arrival of summer, it is crucial to understand the risks associated with prolonged exposure to heat and how to prevent heat-related illnesses.

Heat-related illnesses can range from mild conditions such as heat exhaustion to severe and life-threatening conditions like heatstroke. Prolonged exposure to high temperatures, combined with factors such as humidity, physical exertion and inadequate hydration, can lead to these illnesses. It is essential to recognize the signs and symptoms of heat-related conditions and take immediate action to prevent further complications.

Here are some tips to prevent heat-related illnesses:

  • Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water throughout the day, even if you do not feel thirsty or are primarily indoors. Avoid excessive intake of caffeinated or alcoholic beverages as they can contribute to dehydration.
  • Dress Appropriately: Wear loose-fitting, lightweight and light-colored clothing made of breathable fabrics. This helps in promoting air circulation and aids in sweat evaporation, keeping your body cool.
  • Seek Shade and Limit Sun Exposure: When possible, stay in shaded areas, especially during peak sunlight hours. If you must be outside, wear a wide-brimmed hat and use sunscreen with a high SPF to protect your skin from harmful UV rays.
  • Take Regular Breaks: If you are engaged in physical activities or working outdoors, take frequent breaks in shaded or air-conditioned areas. This allows your body to cool down and recover from heat stress.
  • Plan Outdoor Activities Wisely: Schedule outdoor activities during cooler times of the day, such as early morning or late evening. Avoid strenuous activities during the hottest parts of the day to reduce the risk of heat-related illnesses.
  • Use Cooling Methods: Use cooling techniques such as placing cool, damp towels on your neck, forehead or wrists. Utilize fans, misting systems or air-conditioning to create a comfortable environment indoors.
  • Educate and Raise Awareness: Educate yourself and those around you about the signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses. Symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, headache, rapid heartbeat or confusion can be indicative of a heat-related illness.

By increasing awareness and taking pro-active measures, we can prevent heat-related illnesses and enjoy a safe and fun summer season.

To learn more about Wisconsin Safety Council’s safety services, click here.

Wisconsin Safety Council