Consolidated Tribal Health Project
Healthy People. Healthy Families. Healthy Community.


Safety News: Heat Stress

This time of year all of us look forward to vacations, visits to the beach, and just lolling about enjoying the warmth of summer. Then there is the business of work and here in Mendocino County many hobs requiring working in environments that are hot. Hot environments may be encountered when working outside during hot, humid summer days, in un-air conditioned indoor areas, when working in confined spaces, or when working in protective clothing that prevents or hinders the body’s cooling process. Awareness of a danger that lurks in there environments is important to all of us. What is the danger? It is HEAT STRESS.


It is a buildup of body heat generated either internally by muscle use or externally by the environment. People exposed to extreme heat or that work in hot environments may be at risk for heat stress. Exposure to extreme heat can result in illnesses and injuries such as heat stroke, heat exhaustion and/ or heat syncope. Following is a list of the illnesses associated with Heat Stress and their symptoms.

HEAT STROKE: Symptoms include hot, dry skin (no sweating), hallucinations, chills, headache, high body temperature, confusion, dizziness, or slurred speech. Heat stroke is a life threatening condition.

HEAT EXHAUSTION: Symptoms include heavy sweating, weakness or fatigue, dizziness, confusion, nausea, clammy, moist skin, pate or flushed complexion, muscle cramps, slightly elevated body temperature, or fast shallow breathing.

HEAT SYNCOPE (fainting): Symptoms are light headedness, dizziness, and/or fainting.

Protect yourself from the sun and heat—wear protective clothing that allows the body to cool itself, wear a hat and eye protection, drink water, get out of the heat as often as possible and take a break! Drink water, Drink water, Drink water. Summer can be fun and we all enjoy being outdoors but remember to protect yourself from the elements.


Torrey Douglass