Avoiding heat related illnesses in the heat, especially while working outdoors


TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — During the summer, it is often said to go inside during the heat of the day or seek out the shade when possible. But for those whose job is outside, that’s not a possibility.

“A lot of stuff has to be done (in the) spring, summer,” said Chad Robinson, with Road Work Ahead. “The temperatures for the asphalt, the base has to be acclimated, it can’t be too wet or it won’t compact right.”

Heat exhaustion and potentially even heat stroke are a possibility for people working outdoors. The Emergency Room Director at Minidoka Memorial Hospital says it is important to know the difference between the two.

“Getting nauseated, maybe vomiting, you can get heat cramps,” said Dr. Tyler Dschaak. “You see that with football teams who play out in the heat for hours at a time. Your heart rate will get really high, you can have a really high resting heart rate at the 140′s or higher.”

However, if heat exhaustion isn’t treated early on, it can turn into heat stroke, which can be deadly.

“Once the body gets into that red zone, it can be life-threatening, people die from this. And so if you’ve got somebody that you are with, an athlete, a family member, and you are out in the heat and they start to act confused they say things that don’t make sense, they pass out and aren’t acting right, you have to get them cooled down as fast as possible and get them to the ER,” said Dr. Dschaak.

During this time, Road Work Ahead says they give their employees breaks, lots of water, and sweat-resistant clothing to try to keep them as cool as much as possible.

“There are not a lot of options as far as a window to work, so our guys are pretty much stuck outside in the heat, or the cold, depending on what is going on outside,” said Robinson.

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