The sunny, steamy hot weather that we yearn for all winter long can turn into a problem once summer arrives. High temps and humidity can be dangerous, depending on your summer activities and work environment.
The body has a mechanism that keeps us safe in high heat conditions, but it doesn’t always work efficiently. Your body is always trying to maintain homeostasis, or a kind of equilibrium. It works to keep your body temperature around 98.6 degrees and generally an external temperature of about 73 degrees is comfortable; however, if you are physically active, your body may require a lower external temperature to maintain that 98.6 degrees.
Well, if you are outdoors or in an environment that is not air conditioned for long periods of time, then your body must take action. First it will increase your internal temperature, giving you a fever. It can also increase your pulse rate, put a strain on your heart and, in some cases, cause a life-threatening stroke.
Sweat is gross, it but has a purpose: to cool the body, but the sweat must be able to evaporate to be effective. Humidity and clothing that doesn’t breathe can stop evaporation. If your body is not used to the heat, it may produce sweat with a lot of salt thus reducing your body’s electrolytes and leading to heat exhaustion. If sweat is not doing the job, then the heart will pump more blood into the small blood vessels to get it closer to the surface, hoping to cool it. That doesn’t work if the external environment is hotter than your normal 98.6 degrees.
It’s important to know that heat can be dangerous by itself and it can also lead to accidents or injuries. If you become injured at work due to extreme heat conditions, you may have a workers’ compensation claim. Call us to find out about your rights.
Oh, and don’t forget your pets. They have the same issues with heat that we do. Be sure they have access to shade and lots of cool water.
Have a safe summer!