There was a 2 to 5 percent increase in hospitalizations for heat stress illness from 2001 to 2010, according to a study published in today’s edition of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. During the study period, 28,133 heat stress illness hospitalizations occurred in 20 states participating in a tracking program. Most of the cases involved men and people over age 65, suggesting that age and gender are significant risk factors.
Work-related heat exposure can have serious health consequences. As part of the Occupational Health and Safety Administration’s heat illness prevention campaign, the agency offers these tips:
- Drink water every 15 minutes
- Take frequent rest breaks in a cool area
- Outdoors, wear a hat and light-colored clothing
- Learn signs of heat illness (confusion, fainting, excessive sweating, red skin) and what to do in an emergency