High temperatures dangerous for outdoor workers, physician says

Pee Dee

Record-breaking temperatures across South Carolina can bring serious illnesses to outdoor workers according to a local physician.

Dr. Mark Deshaies, MUSC Health Florence Medical Center, said those workers have a higher risk for heat exhaustion and heat strokes due to spending long hours outside without proper hydration.

“Your landscapers, your construction people. They work outside, and they underestimate the amount of heat that they are exposed to and probably the amount of work that they’re doing,” Deshaies said.

According to Dr.Deshaies, it’s important to know heat exhaustion signs during summer months.

“You start getting dizzy, light-headed. You start getting volume depleted, and you’ll find that the whole day will go by and you’re not passing any urine.”

Individuals who start feeling nauseated and have muscle cramps may have a more serious related illness that could require medical attention.

“That’s very dangerous because you don’t have the fluids nor the volume to perfuse your organs, so it’s not enough blood getting to your brain. It’s not enough blood getting to your heart or vital organs. That’s when they call it a stroke.”

Dr. Deshaies said drinking plenty of water is important, but drinking electrolytes could really make a difference in saving your life.

One local construction company said they take extra precaution methods with their workers by taking heat exhaustion safety courses.

“All of our supervisors have gone through OSHA-10 training and a portion of that is heat related,” said Lindsay Smith, Palmetto Corp. 

During the summer months, Palmetto Corp. gives their construction workers additional breaks along with cooling towels. So far, they haven’t had any heat related incidents this year.

“In the past summers, we definitely have had heat exhaustion and strokes where folks over-exert themselves without taking enough breaks,” Smith said.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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