Outdoor workers at risk of heat related illness

By: Victoria Maranan Email
By: Victoria Maranan Email

SHERMAN, TX-Texoma is also feeling the triple-digit heat putting those who work outside at risk of heat related illnesses.
One Medical's Dr. Mark Buckner tells us heat related illnesses is the number one environmentally related cause of death in the U.S. He has some tips on how to keep yourself cool while working outside. TxDOT also tells us what they do to make sure road crews don't end up in the E.R.
TxDOT area engineer, David Selman said road crews work extra hours during the summer because the 100 degree heat can take a toll on the roadways.

"In the extreme heat, you've got materials that expand. So like the concrete pavement is actually expanding and when they butt up against to each other, they actually explode and create potholes," he said.

Selman said fixing the problem can also mean workers will have to deal with even higher temperatures.

"One of the things that we're doing this week is laying hot mix which is around 300 degrees so it even adds to the heat related stress of our guys working out in the heat," he said.

"A lot of heat exhaustion patients are the ones who are out really physically exerting themselves in the heat."

One Medical's Dr. Mark Buckner said patients have been coming in with heat related illnesses and a lot of them work out in the heat.

"Almost all of them. A lot of it has to do with getting acclimated to the heat, that's really important for people who are working outside and that takes a good 14 days," he said.

That's why Selman said they tell crews to take extra precautions while working.

"We've told our guys three things: to drink lots of water, every 15 minutes take a drink of water, take breaks in the shade and then watch out for each other," he said.

Dr. Buckner said workers need to pay attention to symptoms that can indicate dehydration, heat exhaustion and, especially, heat stroke which requires immediate medical attention.

"Lack of sweating, nausea, vomiting, lightheadedness, feeling like you're gonna pass out, headache, cramping," he said.

Dr. Buckner adds that drinks with electrolytes, like Gatorade, are ideal if you work outside because they can help you stay hydrated longer than water.
He also said it's best to wear light-colored, loose-fitted clothing while working outside.


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