During hot weather seasons like summer, you need to be cautious about staying outdoors for too long or overexerting yourself in the heat. This is because, in scorching weather, you run the risk of classic or exertional heat stroke. In both cases, your body’s core temperature rises to or above 104ºF. Classic heat stroke mainly occurs due to exposure to very high temperatures, while exertional heatstroke may be due to prolonged physical exertion in the heat. Both are a risk if you are making home improvements, especially when working on the house’s exterior without a shade.
If you or your crew are showing any of the following symptoms, it may be time to seek medical attention and perform some first aid.
- The person’s body temperature measures 104ºF or higher.
- They are complaining of a throbbing headache.
- They have fainted.
- They are dizzy.
- They are not sweating, and their skin feels dry when touched.
- The person is behaving as if their mental state is altered. For example, they may be delirious, confused, have slurred speech
- They are having seizures.
- They are nauseous or are vomiting.
- They have rapid breathing or a fast heartbeat.
Heatstroke may be fatal if not diagnosed and treated fast. If you are working outdoors, it may be easier to prevent heat stroke than to treat it. Here are a few preventative measures you can take to avoid heatstroke when working in the heat
Keep yourself hydrated
As a result of the heat, your body may be losing a lot of bodily fluids by sweating (your body’s attempt to keep you cool.) For this reason, you must keep a bottle of water by your side or in a cooler and drink from it regularly. If possible, drink fluids with electrolytes such as coconut water or vegetable juice.
Wear sunscreen and wide-brimmed hats
It is crucial that you protect your skin from direct sunlight. Wearing a wide-brimmed hat will protect your face and possibly your neck from sunburns and direct sunlight. Apply sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 and reapply it regularly, particularly if you are sweating a lot.
Wear light, loose-fitting clothes
If you wear tight clothes, you are most likely trapping the heat in your body and preventing your body from sweating. This is the opposite of what you want your body to be doing and could lead to your body heat rising beyond healthy levels. If possible, wear as few and as light clothes as possible. Also, pick light-colored clothing over dark-colored clothing, particularly avoiding black garments.
Avoid drinking diuretics
Diuretics are those drinks that remove water from the body. Alcohol is a diuretic. Coffee, fruit juice, and sodas are mild diuretics. When working in the heat, you don’t need drinks that can contribute to dehydration. Only those that hydrate you.
Avoid working outside when the heat is at its peak
If you can, try and work on the inside of the house from around 12 pm to 4 pm. The heat should be extreme at this time, and you are more likely to get heat-related illnesses. Aim to have outdoor projects in the mornings and evenings when the heat is less intense.
As frequently as possible, take a break from your work and give your body time to cool off. This is even more important if you are feeling unusually tired or weak. Do not rest in a car. The car’s temperature can rise higher than that outside, even if the vehicle is tinted or parked in the shade. Try relaxing in air-conditioned rooms or under the shade in the open air.
Your home improvement project is important, but it should not be done at the risk of your health or the health of your crew. Provide enough fluids to keep everyone hydrated, and take frequent breaks among the other preventive measures stated above so that everyone is safe. Also, be keener on the more vulnerable like the children and the elderly.