Heat Stress Awareness
Vol.8 Issue 5
Heat Stress Awareness

As temperatures begin to rise, exposure to excessive heat increases, as does the likelihood for medical emergencies related to heat stress. Heat stress is a significant problem especially for those who work outdoors in jobs that require heavy physical labor in hot or humid environments. It occurs when the internal body temperature is higher than 100o F. Please take care and do not become a victim of excessive heat. Below are ways to recognize risk factors that can cause heat stress; signs and symptoms of heat stress; and how to prevent heat stress.

Risk Factors for Heat Stress

  • Heavy physical labor
  • Hot or humid work
  • Direct sunlight
  • Work near hot equipment
  • Wearing chemical protective clothing, some dust masks, other personal protective equipment
  • Lack of acclimatization
  • Dehydration
  • Previous heat-related illness, high blood pressure, overweight, age, thyroid disease, pregnancy, and some medications

Signs and Symptoms of Heat Stress (most serious first)

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Seizures
  • Confusion or delirium
  • Body temperature greater than 100o F
  • Hot and dry skin
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Irritability
  • Thirst
  • Heavy sweating
  • Muscle pains
  • Cluster of red pimples or small blisters that may appear on the neck, upper chest, in the groin, under the breasts and elbow creases

Drink plenty of water when you’re exposed to heat

Preventing Heat Stress

  • Control the pace of physical labor or reschedule it for a cooler time; consider early morning or night
  • Contact AMP-100 to assess the exposure potential
  • Take frequent work breaks
  • Drink a lot of water (one cup every 15 minutes)
  • Seek shade
  • Wear light colored clothing that covers your skin
  • Don’t work alone
  • Don’t eat a heavy meal before working in heat
  • Be alert for signs and symptoms of heat stress in others and yourself
  • If possible, utilize cooling devices such as swamp coolers, fans, cooling vests, etc.

If you or someone you are working with experiences signs of heat stress, take them to a cool and shaded environment to sit or lie down. If the person is alert, give them water to drink in small portions. If the person is unconscious or becoming unresponsive, call the MMAC Campus Emergency Number, (405) 954-3444, immediately. Severe heat stress (heat stroke) is a life-threatening emergency. Further guidance for worker health effects from high temperatures is provided in a number of available sources:

For more information about heat stress please call AMP-100 at (405) 954-3503.

Chart depicting Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke
Federal Aviation Aministration (FAA) seal