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Heat Stroke

Heat stroke is the most serious heat-related disorder. It occurs when the body becomes unable to control its temperature: the body's temperature rises rapidly, the sweating mechanism fails, and the body is unable to cool down. When heat stroke occurs, the body temperature can rise to 106 degrees Fahrenheit or higher within 10 to 15 minutes. Heat stroke can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not given.


Symptoms of heat stroke include:

  • Hot, dry skin or profuse sweating
  • Hallucinations
  • Chills
  • Throbbing headache
  • High body temperature
  • Confusion/dizziness
  • Slurred speech

First Aid

Take the following steps to treat a worker with heat stroke:

  • Call 911 and notify their supervisor.
  • Move the sick worker to a cool shaded area.
  • Cool the worker using methods such as:
    • Soaking their clothes with water.
    • Spraying, sponging, or showering them with water.
    • Fanning their body.

Heat Exhaustion

Heat exhaustion is the body's response to an excessive loss of the water and salt, usually through excessive sweating. Workers most prone to heat exhaustion are those that are elderly, have high blood pressure, and those working in a hot environment.


Symptoms of heat exhaustion include:

  • Heavy sweating
  • Extreme weakness or fatigue
  • Dizziness, confusion
  • Nausea
  • Clammy, moist skin
  • Pale or flushed complexion
  • Muscle cramps
  • Slightly elevated body temperature
  • Fast and shallow breathing

First Aid

Treat those suffering from heat exhaustion with the following:

  • Have them rest in a cool, shaded or air-conditioned area.
  • Have them drink plenty of water or other cool, nonalcoholic beverages.
  • Have them take a cool shower, bath, or sponge bath.

Heat Syncope

Heat syncope is a fainting (syncope) episode or dizziness that usually occurs with prolonged standing or sudden rising from a sitting or lying position. Factors that may contribute to heat syncope include dehydration and lack of acclimatization.


Symptoms of heat syncope include:

  • Light-headedness
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting

First Aid

People with heat syncope should:

  • Sit or lie down in a cool place when they begin to feel symptoms.
  • Slowly drink water, clear juice, or a sports beverage.

Heat Cramps

Heat cramps usually affect people who sweat a lot during strenuous activity. This sweating depletes the body's salt and moisture levels. Low salt levels in muscles causes painful cramps. Heat cramps may also be a symptom of heat exhaustion.


  • Muscle pain or spasms usually in the abdomen, arms, or legs.

First Aid

Persons with heat cramps should:

  • Stop all activity, and sit in a cool place.
  • Drink clear juice or a sports beverage.
  • Do not return to strenuous work for a few hours after the cramps subside because further exertion may lead to heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

    Seek medical attention if any of the following apply:
      • The person has heart problems.
      • The person is on a low-sodium diet.
      • The cramps do not subside within one hour.

    Heat Rash

    Heat rash is a skin irritation caused by excessive sweating during hot, humid weather.


    Symptoms of heat rash include:

    • Heat rash looks like a red cluster of pimples or small blisters.
    • It is more likely to occur on the neck and upper chest, in the groin, under   the breasts, and in elbow creases.

    First Aid

    People experiencing heat rash should:

    • Try to work in a cooler, less humid environment when possible.
    • Keep the affected area dry.
    • Dusting powder may be used to increase comfort.

    Recommendations to Avoid Exposure

    We should avoid exposure to extreme heat, sun exposure, and high humidity when possible. When these exposures cannot be avoided, we should take the following steps to prevent heat stress:

    • Wear light-colored, loose-fitting, breathable clothing such as cotton.
      • Avoid non-breathing synthetic clothing.
    • Gradually build up to heavy work.
    • Schedule heavy work during the coolest parts of day.
    • Take more breaks in extreme heat and humidity.
      • Take breaks in the shade or a cool area when possible.
    • Drink water frequently. Drink enough water that you never become thirsty. Approximately 1 cup every 15-20 minutes.
    • Avoid alcohol, and drinks with large amounts of caffeine or sugar.
    • Be aware that protective clothing or personal protective equipment may increase the risk of heat stress.
    • Monitor your physical condition and that of your coworkers.