Heat Illness Prevention

The Department of Environmental Health and Safety would like to remind the Campus Community that heat stress is from exertion or hot environments that places workers at risk for heat illness.  Heat related illnesses are preventable if employees are aware of contributing factors and take the appropriate steps before, during, and after working in either indoor or outdoor high temperature environments.

The Chico area has frequent high temperatures from June through September, with the occasional occurrence of higher temperatures as early as May.  Some CSU, Chico employees can anticipate to be exposed to high heat which can result in heat illnesses.  Any employee whose job duties require them to work in the outdoors during summer months are exposed to the seasonal elevated heat conditions, and therefore, may be susceptible to one or more forms of heat illness.

All other employees are encouraged to review and follow these simple steps to avoid heat illness:

  • Drink plenty of cool water or beverages containing electrolytes throughout the day
  • Drink water even if you are not thirsty yet, if you delay dehydration may occur
  • Avoid caffeinated beverages (coffee & energy drinks) and alcohol
  • Take frequent cooling breaks in the shade or inside air conditioned buildings
  • Know your limitations – supplements and prescription medicines may affect your ability to tolerate heat.  Overall health, physical condition and age contribute to susceptibility

Be aware of the signs of heat illness. A person may exhibit some or all of these symptoms:

  • Cramps or muscle spasms
  • Headache, nausea and/or vomiting
  • Confusion, agitation or abnormal behavior
  • Red, dry skin and an absence of perspiration
  • High body temperature (102 or higher)
  • Loss of consciousness or seizures

If heat illness is suspected, take action immediately by calling 911 and follow these guidelines until help arrives:

  • Move the person to shade or into an air conditioned building
  • Remove hats, loosen and remove extra clothing including shoes
  • If the person is conscious, provide cool water or electrolyte drinks such as Gatorade
  • Apply cool packs or wet cloths to the head, neck, abdomen, and groin area or pour cool water on them.
  • Fan the person if possible to help cooling

For additional information regarding heat illness, please visit these informational sites:

http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/heat/ 
http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/heatstress/

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