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The Difference Between Heat Stroke & Heat Exhaustion and How to Avoid It

Chicago is known for its hot summers, but recently Chicago has been hit with some record breaking temperatures. These dangerous temperatures have put many at risk of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Construction workers, landscapers, lifeguards and many other laborers who work in environments that are not equipped with proper cooling systems are at grave risk and should take proper precautions while working in these conditions.

Chicago personal injury attorney Jim Morici states: “This heat can be just as dangerous as any other construction site injury, and can cause serious injury to anyone”. Heat exhaustion occurs when people work, exercise, or play in extreme heat and lose a lot of body fluids through perspiration which severely dehydrates the body. The person’s body temperature may be elevated as a result of this.

Heat stroke is more serious than heat exhaustion and can even be fatal. When a person has heat stroke the main cooling system stops working, which is controlled by the brain. The person stops perspiring and body temperature is dangerously increased. Prompt medical attention is needed when someone shows signs of heat stroke. Brain damage can happen when the body’s internal temperature reaches 105 degrees Fahrenheit.

Chicago is also known for its humidity. The body can’t properly evaporate the sweat it is producing which in turn, increases one's chance of suffering from heat-related sickness. A person's chance of suffering from heat stroke or heat exhaustion increases when they are engaging in physical work in excessive heat and humidity.

Symptoms of heat stroke and heat exhaustion include fatigue, excessive sweating, muscle cramps, dizziness, vomiting, and abdominal pain.

For mild cases of heat exhaustion, the affected person should rest in a cool shaded place, drink cool fluids, especially sports drinks, that will replace the electrolytes and salt that was lost through perspiration, and also don’t drink any alcohol or caffeine.

If you believe you are suffering from heat stroke, you must seek medical attention immediately.

Chicago personal injury law firm Morici, Longo & Associates represents severely injured clients that have been hurt on job sites. If you have been injured while working or by a third party, please contact our office for assistance.