Heat stress is one of the biggest health risks associated with heat waves. Hot weather places extra strain on your body as it tries to cool itself to its preferred temperature of 37C. Farmers working outside, or in farm buildings or sheds which have poor cooling methods, are at particular risk. There are three stages of heat stress: heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
Heat stroke occurs when you become dehydrated and your body temperature rises above 40.5C. This is a medical emergency and can lead to death. If you work in a hot environment, or are fighting fires you should drink plenty of water, try to stay indoors during the hottest part of the day and develop a heat stroke prevention plan.
Heat stroke occurs when a person becomes dehydrated and their body temperature rises above 40.5C. This is a medical emergency and can lead to death. If you are organising a large event or sports activity, working in a hot environment or fire fighting, you should develop a heat stroke prevention plan.
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Signs of Health stress:
Fainting, heat exhaustion, heat cramps, heat fatigue, worsening of pre-existing illnesses and conditions.
Signs and symptoms of heat illness include feeling sick, nauseous, dizzy or weak.
Serious signs are clumsiness, collapse and convulsions (fitting) which may be experienced as a result of heat illness. Anyone with these signs or symptoms need to seek immediate medical attention.
References used for this topic page
Extreme heat and heatwaves
Rural safety-heat stress [PDF]
Primary clinical care manual [Heat exhaustion – page 194]
Last updated: 15th February, 2018