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As the heat index reaches its peak, it’s important to make sure your employees recognize the symptoms of heat-related illness. If your employee is experiencing symptoms of heat cramps or exhaustion, our friendly, caring medical team is here to help.


How Does Heat-Related Illness Happen?

When employees are working in hot, humid weather for a long period of time, the body sometimes isn't able to efficiently cool itself to retain a normal temperature. This can make workers feel weak and affect their thinking, and, in some cases, lead to serious illness or injury on the job.

Employee Risk Factors:

Working Environment - Any workers who spend a substantial portion of their shift outdoors or around radiant heat sources may be at risk of a heat-related illness. The risk increases when working in direct sunlight, performing prolonged or strenuous work, or wearing heavy protective clothing.

Weather - As the heat index rises, so does the chances of workers experiencing a heat-related illness. There is an increased risk when humidity is high because sweat does not evaporate from the skin as quickly.

Personal - There are several personal risk factors that are present for employees, including deyhdration, medications, ongoing health conditions, and lack of previous exposure to hot workplaces.


Heat Stroke

May happen when body temperature is over 103 degrees. 


  • confusion 
  • fainting 
  • seizures 
  • excessive sweating or red, hot, dry skin 
  • very high body temperature 


Call 911. While waiting for help:

  • Take worker to a shady, cool area. 
  • Loosen worker's clothing; remove outer clothing. 
  • Fan air on worker; place cold packs in armpits. 
  • Wet worker with cool water; apply ice packs, cool compresses, or ice if available. 
  • Provide fluids (preferably water) as soon as possible. 
  • Stay with employee until help arrives.

Heat Exhaustion

May happen when body temperature is over 100 degrees.


  • heavy sweating 
  • faintness 
  • low blood pressure 
  • headache 
  • nausea or vomiting 
  • low fever 
  • dark urine 


  • Have worker rest with legs elevated above heart level in a cool, shady area. 
  • Worker should drink water or other cool beverages. 
  • Cool worker with cold compresses/ice packs. 
  • Take employee to urgent care center or emergency room for medical evaluation or treatment if signs or symptoms worsen or do not rapidly improve.

Heat Cramps

When the body sweats out critical salts and fluids, causing muscle cramping.


  • heavy sweating 
  • fatigue 
  • thirst 
  • muscle cramps 


  • Have worker rest in a shady, cool area. 
  • Worker should drink water or other cool beverages. 
  • Wait a few hours before allowing employee to return to strenuous work. 
  • Have worker seek medical attention if cramps don’t go away. 

Heat Rash

Caused by excessive sweating.


  • Clusters of red bumps on skin. 
  • Often appears on neck, upper chest, or folds of skin. 


  • Have employee work in a cooler, less humid environment when possible. 
  • Worker should keep the affected area dry. 

*Remember, if you are not a medical professional, use this information as a guide only to help workers in need.

Sources: OSHA, WebMD

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