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Heat Related Illness on the Job

People who work in bakeries, factories and kitchens are more likely to suffer from heat stress, as are people who are overweight or who suffer from heart disease or high blood pressure. However anyone whose internal thermostat rises to a dangerously high level on the job can be overcome by heat stress, especially if an employer is negligent about providing adequate cooling, periodic breaks or access to water.

Learn about the six forms of heat stress

Heat Exhaustion

Heat-related illnesses are potentially life threatening at all times of year, so they are important to recognize and their symptoms are important to identify. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describe the six most common forms of heat-related illnesses so you can properly educate yourself about the dangers – and decide whether you need the assistance of a Las Vegas workers compensation lawyer.

  • Heat stroke results from an elevated body temperature – potentially as high as 106 degrees – a failing sweating mechanism and an inability to cool down. Heat stroke often requires emergency treatment, without it, disability or even death can follow. Symptoms include: an altered mental state, confusion, slurred speech, hot, red skin or severe sweating, fainting, and seizures.
  • Heat exhaustion essentially is the body's way of responding to a huge loss of salt and water. Symptoms include: dizziness, excessive sweating, headache, irritability, little urine passage, nausea, thirst, and weakness. Emergency treatment should be sought if symptoms persist for more than an hour.
  • Rhabdomyolysis is a condition that stems from heat stress and physical exertion that triggers the breakdown, rupture or loss of muscle. When muscle tissue dies, proteins and electrolytes flood the bloodstream and can cause an irregular heartbeat, kidney damage and seizures. Symptoms include: dark-colored urine, inability to exercise, muscle cramps or pain, and weakness.
  • Heat syncope is a dizzy spell or fainting episode often occurring after rising too quickly from a sitting or lying position or after a period of prolonged standing. It is induced by dehydration. Symptoms include: dizziness, fainting, and lightheadedness.
  • Heat cramps usually follow a period of strenuous activity. Although sweating cools the body down, it also depletes the body's moisture and salt supplies, resulting in cramps. They also can be symptomatic of heat exhaustion. Symptoms include: cramps, muscle spasms, and pain.
  • Heat rash – also known as prickly heat – forms when excessive sweat irritates the skin. Symptoms include: clusters of red blisters, bumps or pimples.

Be proactive about heat stress

Once you learn to recognize heat-related illnesses and identify the symptoms, you can take the appropriate action. Move to a cool area, loosen your clothing and cool down by drinking water or applying cold compresses.

Las Vegas Workers Compensation Lawyers

If you suspect your workplace may be the cause of heat stress, reach out to Greenman, Goldberg, Raby, and Martinez, Las Vegas workers compensation lawyers. We've been on the side of workers in the Las Vegas and Henderson area since 1970, and our track record of success in personal injury and workers compensation cases is unparalleled.

As we're fond of saying, you don't want to wait and hope for the best – not when you're confronting the potentially debilitating effects of a heat-related illness. Get the right legal help from the Las Vegas workers compensation lawyers you can trust before it’s too late.

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