CCEDC Guest Blogger, Carol Obando-Derstine, PPL Corporation
It might be a cold washcloth, or an ice cube against the wrist, or a tall glass of iced tea to drink in front of a floor fan.
Whatever it is, I hope you’re putting it to good use. Another hot summer is here, and it’s important for everyone to take care of themselves to avoid heat-related illness.
At PPL, we take heat-related illness very seriously. Our linemen and other employees work in the heat every day to keep your service strong. We share safety tips with them, tell them to look out for each other, and urge them to be careful.
We care about you, our customers, too. And we hope you’ll be safe and know the risks, just like our linemen do.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, people at greatest risk for heat-related illness include:
-Those who are 65 years or older
-Infants and children up to 4 years old
-Those who are overweight or have certain medical conditions, like diabetes and heart disease
-People who are socially isolated
But even the young and healthy can be hit by heat illness if they work or play too hard in hot weather. Drinking alcohol and taking certain types of medication can increase the risk, too, according to the CDC.
Here are some basic tips to help you avoid heatstroke, heat exhaustion and other seasonal illnesses:
-Drink water frequently. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink.
-Avoid alcohol and caffeinated drinks.
-Take frequent breaks of several minutes each during physical activity. Don’t wait until you feel ill or out-of-sorts to take a break.
-Get help with physical tasks. Watch your partner or co-worker for signs of heat illness.
How can you identify and respond to heat-related illnesses?
-Heat cramps: Painful muscle spasms should be treated with rest in a cool place and with cool water, stretching and massaging.
-Heat exhaustion: Symptoms that include cool, moist and pale skin, headache, dizziness, and nausea should be treated by moving to a cooler location, drinking cool fluids, loosening clothing and applying wet towels.
-Heat stroke: Serious medical emergency involving sweating, mental confusion, delirium and possibly loss of consciousness. Seek medical attention immediately by calling 911. Until help arrives, apply cold towels to the body and expose the victim to a fan or air conditioning.
So, work safely. Take breaks. Know your limits. And we’ll make this summer a cool one in all senses of the word.