It was Benjamin Franklin who coined the ever popular phrase, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” The meaning, of course, is rather straightforward. Putting in a little effort to prevent a problem means you will not have to put in a lot of effort to solve one. Better yet, you won’t even be faced with a problem when you take the necessary steps to avoid it. That would be the hope when it comes to dealing with the potential dangers of heat exposure and elevated temperatures.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “When people are exposed to extreme heat, they can suffer from potentially deadly heat-related illnesses, such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Heat is the leading weather-related killer in the United States, even though most heat-related deaths are preventable through outreach and intervention.”
Precautionary measures against heat related stress will continue to grow in importance as the EPA reports “…unusually hot summer temperatures have become more frequent across the contiguous 48 states” and that extreme heat waves are “…expected to become longer, more frequent, and more intense” in the future. With that, truckers face the risk of more heat-related deaths and illness.
How To Prevent Heat Related Illness:
Drink plenty of water before starting an outdoor activity.
Drink extra water throughout the day.
Keep a cool, wet towel in your fridge to help cool your face and neck.
Wear sunscreen and lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
Schedule vigorous outdoor activities for cooler times.
Be aware of the weather.
Identifying Heat Stroke and Heat Exhaustion
Heat Stroke has both physical and neurological symptoms. If unattended or unnoticed, these can lead to significant body damage or even death. It’s important to know the symptoms:
High body temperature. Skin feels dry.
Red face, with no sweating. Difficulty breathing.
Altered mental state ranging from hallucinations to disorientation
Victims may become restless, irrational, agitated or may even have seizures.
Chills, victim collapses, becomes unconsciousness or has convulsions.
In severe heat stroke, a victim can go into a coma in less than one hour.
What To Do:
There are limited options to treat heat stroke. Most resources recommend the following:
Get the individual to shade. Try to cool the body–a garden hose or cool water is a good start.
Call for medical assistance.
When a person has been exposed to hot temperatures for several days, they face the risk of heat exhaustion. Risk is more prevalent when temps are higher than 90 degrees. Certain medications can cause increased susceptibility. Heat exhaustion is often accompanied by heavy perspiration with normal or slightly normal body temperatures. It is caused by water or salt depletion or both. If left unattended, heat exhaustion can turn into a heat stroke. The following are the most common symptoms:
Victim may have confusion, fainting, fatigue, and/or headache.
Experiences muscle cramps, nausea, pale skin, and/or sweating.
May have rapid heartbeat. Severe thirst.
May experience diarrhea and/or clammy, pale skin.
Sometimes the person might think they have the flu.
What To Do:
Move the person out of the heat and into a shady or air-conditioned place.
Have them drink plenty of non-caffeinated and non-alcoholic beverages.
Lay person down and elevate legs and feet slightly.
Remove any tight or unnecessary clothing.
Apply ice packs or cool towels.
Contact a paramedic or medical professional.
Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke are serious conditions. Your best bet is to prevent dehydration and overexposure to high temperatures. Because we care about the safety of our drivers, Millis Transfer trucks include amenities like a dash mounted AM/FM radio with weather band to help drivers stay up to date with weather conditions. Millis Trucks also have crank out vent windows in the sleeper with screens to allow for more ventilation as well as refrigerators to help keep towels and drinks cool. Driving in extreme heat can be challenging. When you ride with Millis, you’ll be a lot safer and definitely more comfortable.
About Millis Transfer
Mills Transfer, Getting It There Since 1936, has an impressive service record earning the company dozens of “Carrier of the Year” awards. Headquartered in Black River Falls, Wis., Millis is also a Certified Top Pay Carrier with some of the best equipment on the road. Maintenance facilities and drop yards are strategically located throughout the company’s operating area. Its sister company, Millis Training Institute, offers five school locations that provide students with quality training in order to earn their CDL-A license. For more information please visit www.millistransfer.com, www.mtidriving.com or call 1-800-937-0880.