Preventing Heat Stress-Related illness

Tips for beating the heat…

  • Drink more fluids (2 – 4 glasses of cool, nonalcoholic fluids each hour), regardless of your activity level. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink; by then you’re already dehydrated.
  • Don’t drink liquids that contain large amounts of sugar or caffeine– these actually cause you to lose more body fluid.
  • Take frequent rest breaks in shady areas or in air- conditioned spaces on campus, if available. Air conditioned, indoor spaces provide the best relief from outdoor heat and sun exposure.
  • Electric fans may provide comfort, but when the temperature reaches the high 90s or above, fans WILL NOT prevent heat-related illness. Splash your face and any exposed skin with cool water or moving to an air-conditioned location to cool off.
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing made of natural fibers like cotton. Synthetic fibers like polyester don’t breathe and won’t allow for evaporation of sweat, which cools your body.
  • Do not sit in a closed vehicle. Studies show that there is an average increase in interior temperature of 40°F in 30 minutes, meaning if it’s 100°F outside, it will be 140°F inside the vehicle, or even hotter, within 30 minutes. And cracking the window made no measurable difference in temperature.
  • Although anyone can suffer from heat-related illness, some people are at greater risk than others so check regularly on people aged 65 and over; and those who have a physical illness.
  • Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a hat and sunglasses and wear sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher.
  • Apply the sunscreen at least 30 minutes BEFORE sun exposure, as sunscreen takes 30 minutes to reach full effectiveness. Reapply after sweating, vigorous activity, or toweling
  1. NIOSH/OSHA: Protecting Workers from Heat Illness Infosheet
  2. NIOSH/OSHA Heat Stress App