Whether you have worked in an outside job for decades or this will be your first year, you must understand the risks of working in the heat. It is your employer’s responsibility to make sure you are safe on the job, but it is up to you to be smart and limit your risks. This is especially true when it comes to working in the heat because heat illnesses can sneak up on you. 

While the temperatures may not be too warm right now, you know the hot weather is coming soon. That is why now is an opportune time to prepare yourself for those sweltering working conditions. This starts with understanding the types of heat-related illnesses you may face. 

Types of illnesses 

The three main types of heat-related illnesses, according to WebMD, are heatstroke, heat exhaustion and heat cramps. Heatstroke is the most severe illness and can lead to death. This condition occurs after long exposure to heat. Your body can no longer cool itself through sweating, and it causes your brain to malfunction and become unable to regulate your body temperature. 

Heat exhaustion occurs due to large amounts of water loss. This happens due to excessive sweating. Losing fluids can dehydrate you, which will negatively impact your organs. 

Heat cramps are also due to fluid loss and affect your muscles. They may start to contract severely, causing extreme pain. 

How they happen 

Heat-related illnesses occur due to an extreme rise in your body temperature. Your blood flow changes and your brain, organs and muscles receive less blood flow. This can trigger issues with your ability to stay conscious, move and speak. These illnesses are so dangerous because you may not be able to tell someone you are not okay. 

The leading way to avoid these injuries is to ensure that you stay hydrated and take breaks regularly to get out of direct sunlight and heat.