IT’S NATIONAL HEAT AWARENESS DAY: KEEPING COOL IN SWELTERING CONDITIONS May 27, 2022 | Inspection Tips | inspection industry Today is National Heat Awareness Day. This national holiday was created to remind service members and outdoor laborers to keep cool while working outside in the upcoming summer months. Here are our best tips to beat heatstroke and other temperature-related illnesses such heat exhaustion and dehydration. As an NPI inspector you may find yourself on top of roofs, underneath decks, examining foundations, or in crawl spaces over the course of the summer. During the hot summer months, it’s important to know the signs of heat-related illnesses and what you can to do to prevent them. Warning Signs While there are milder forms of heat-related illnesses, heatstroke is the worst. According to the Mayo Clinic, the main indicator of heatstroke is having a temperature of at least 104 degrees or higher. Other signs of heatstroke include confusion, dizziness, profuse sweating, slurred speech, the cramping of extremities, vomiting, coma, and in the most serious of cases–death. These symptoms are only made worse when performing strenuous activities while outside on exceptionally hot days. Other warning signs of heatstroke are looking flushed in appearance, having a headache, and an irregular heartbeat. While some people experience a rapid heart rate due to the stress of heat plus exertion, others encounter a slowed heart rate, which signals that they may be close to passing out. Risk Factors One of the risk factors associated with heat-related illnesses is the age of the affected individual. The root cause of heatstroke is the fatigue and ultimate failure of the central nervous system and damage of internal organs. This is important to note as those ages four and younger and people 65 and over have fragile nervous systems. The usage of certain medications can also be hazardous. If you take medications that act as a form of diuretic, you must be careful as these medications may cause dehydration. It’s also important to be cautious while taking medications that restrict blood vessels such as blood thinners, as these affect the circulation of blood to upper and lower extremities, sometimes causing dizziness and confusion. If you take any antidepressants, it is also imperative to be aware of how you are physically feeling while completing home inspections in warm weather as antidepressants can suppress psychological indicators that you may be struggling internally. Prevention The most important method of preventing heat-induced illnesses is to stay hydrated. According to the Mayo Clinic, while the minimum amount of water consumed daily is eight glasses, it is imperative to drink closer to 11 glasses for women and 15 glasses of water for men while performing strenuous activities in extremely hot conditions. It’s also imperative to be careful of your alcohol consumption in this type of weather, as alcohol contains properties that can further cause dehydration. Taking breaks is also an important tactic to keep in mind while working in hot weather. Taking breaks can prevent burn out and undue stress on your central nervous system. It also gives you the chance to hydrate and find a cool, air-conditioned space to take your break in, such as your vehicle. This would also be a good time to apply more sunscreen as this type of weather is synonymous with sunburns and skin damage. Dressing appropriately for the weather is also a good way to avoid heat related conditions. While outside in extremely warm weather, it is important to wear loose, breathable fabrics. Wearing tight or restrictive clothing prevents proper ventilation to the skin and can cause one to overheat. Take-Aways 1. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate. Make sure to stay hydrated on humid or hot days to prevent heat exhaustion or stroke. And be mindful of the type of beverages you consume, as it does make a difference! The best way to stay hydrated is by drinking water or low-sugar sports drinks. Drink enough water before you feel thirsty to stay on top of your water intake. Try to limit your alcohol consumption before, during, and after performing strenuous work on sweltering days as doing so may lead to further dehydration. 2. Watch out for Warning Signs. If you find yourself feeling confused, dizzy, or short of breath, it’s time to seek medical attention as these are signs of heatstroke. In extreme cases, heatstroke can lead to organ damage, coma, and even death. Make sure you don’t ignore these dangerous symptoms–your health depends on it! 3. Prevention Before leaving your home for an inspection, check the forecast in your area to ensure that you’re properly dressed. Wear loose, breathable clothing to allow for ventilation and body temperature regulation. Be aware of how your body is responding to the heat and take breaks when necessary. For this and more inspection safety tips, make sure to visit us at: npifranchise.com/blog .