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June 2006

Heat Stress

When the body is unable to cool itself by sweating, several heat-induced illnesses such as heat stress or heat exhaustion and the more severe heat stroke can occur, and can result in death.

Factors Leading to Heat Stress:
High temperature and humidity; direct sun or heat; limited air movement; physical exertion; poor physical condition; some medicines; and inadequate tolerance for hot workplaces.
Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion:
  • Headaches, dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting.
  • Weakness and moist skin.
  • Mood changes such as irritability or confusion.
  • Upset stomach or vomiting.
Symptoms of Heat Stroke:
  • Dry, hot skin with no sweating.
  • Mental confusion or losing consciousness.
  • Seizures or convulsions.
Preventing Heat Stress:
  • Know signs/symptoms of heat-related illnesses; monitor yourself and coworkers.
  • Block out direct sun or other heat sources.
  • Use cooling fans/air-conditioning; rest regularly.
  • Drink lots of water; about 1 cup every 15 minutes.
  • Wear lightweight, light colored, loose-fitting clothes.
  • Avoid alcohol, caffeinated drinks, or heavy meals.

When conditions warrant, EH&S will issue a "Heat Stress Advisory" to the Campus Community to alert supervisors that work schedules may need to be modified as a result of forecasted weather conditions. If workers experience a heat-related illness, call the University Police (911 from any campus phone or (631) 632-3333 from a cell phone).

For more information on heat stress, view the OSHA Heat Stress Guide (in Adobe PDF format).

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