Posted on: 30 July 2019
Staying comfortable in the heat
We all remember the summer of 2018, when temperatures soared and broke records in the UK. On 25th July 2019, London experienced higher temperatures than Bangkok, Thailand, a sobering reminder that when the heat hits in the UK, it can hit hard.
Take a look below at some of the signs that you or your employees may be struggling with the rising temperatures this summer.
Heat exhaustion happens when your body can’t effectively cool itself. This usually happens when you haven’t been drinking enough fluids and you are dehydrated. It will usually happen if you are working or exercising outdoors but can occur anywhere. Make sure you keep an eye out for the following symptoms:
- Dizziness, weakness, nausea, headaches or vomiting.
- Blurred vision.
- Body temperature rising over 37°C to 38°C.
- Sweaty skin.
- Feeling too hot and thirsty.
- Difficulty speaking.
If you notice any of these symptoms in yourself or colleagues, head to a cool place and drink water, as staying in the heat longer can lead to heatstroke, a much more severe condition.
Heatstroke is what happens when you don’t do anything to remedy heat exhaustion. Symptoms can include:
- Sweating stops – could be conceived as a sign that you have cooled down but this isn’t the case.
- Being unaware of thirst and overheating.
- Body temperature rises above 38°C.
- Confusion or delirium.
- Loss of consciousness.
Heatstroke is a serious medical emergency and should be treated by a professional as soon as possible. Until you have access to medical attention, move the affected person to a shaded area and cool them down by putting ice on the neck, armpits and groin. If the affected person is conscious, advise them to drink a small amount of water every 15 minutes until help arrives.
How you can stay cool
Heat and humidity can make working in the summer very uncomfortable, even dangerous. Follow these tips to stay healthy when working in the heat:
- Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day, more if possible.
- Avoid fizzy drinks or caffeine and stick to water.
- Dress appropriately for the weather. If working in construction, wear a well-ventilated safety helmet and lightweight PPE.
- Eat light, refreshing meals, such as salads and avoid eating heavy meals before working or intense activities.
What can you do as an employer?
As a business owner, there are things you could implement to allow your staff to work more comfortably in their working day.
- Relax dress codes i.e. men in offices not having to wear ties.
- Ensure there is a constant supply of freshwater.
- Make sure that air conditioning units are maintained to provide cold air.
- Turn off electronic devices if possible, as they may emit heat.
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