In the six years that Michael Bouman has worked in San Diego’s construction industry, he has experienced his fair share of danger.
“On hot days like today, it’s definitely tough,” Bouman said.
Bouman remembers seeing countless colleagues over the years suffer from heat exhaustion, in some cases even resulting in heatstroke.
“You’re going to overheat without even knowing it,” Bouman said. “People will all of a sudden, you know, start talking and you’ll think, ‘this person sounds a bit confused.’ This is how you may notice some of the symptoms of heatstroke.
Heat contributes to more than 600 deaths in the United States each year, according to the CDC.
“It’s one of those things that really scares you,” Bouman said. “When you’re working really hard and not really paying attention to things, you’re just getting through the day.”
With temperatures set to hit triple digits in parts of the county, experts warn you need to know the signs.
“[A] mild fever can occur when you have heat exhaustion such as around 99, 100 degrees,” said Vi Thuy Nguyen, MD, Kaiser Sustainability Green Team. “Feeling like your mind isn’t working quite right. You know, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, muscle cramps.
Nguyen says heat exhaustion is more common than you might think. She says it’s critical to identify symptoms before they lead to heatstroke.
“Make sure you take care of yourself during the day; eat and drink enough,” Nguyen said. “And then when you’re not feeling well, stop. [If] you just feel a little dizzy or thirsty [water and] put yourself in a cool place.
It’s also important, says Nguyen, to be careful of those working with or around you.
Tips Bouman says he lives by.
“You have to have co-workers looking after you, you know what I’m saying, and just making sure that ‘OK, this guy is weighted, he’s still working hard, his muscles aren’t tense, things like that. Bouman said.
In 2005, California became the first state to establish a Standard to protect outdoor workers from heat exposure. Under this standard, workers must have access to fresh, free drinking water, workers must be allowed to take preventative breaks to cool off in the shade, and employers must have a written disease prevention plan. caused by heat.