Summer is finally here!

While the heat may be nice to relax in, it’s not so pleasant to work in. If you work in construction, you likely know this all too well. Working outside in the summer can lead to heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat stress, and a range of other heat-related illnesses.

Our NYC construction accident attorneys at Koenigsberg & Associates Law Offices are sharing our tips to help you stay cool while working in the heat. But first, let’s take a look at the difference between heat stroke and heat exhaustion. That way, if you start to experience symptoms, you’ll know what you’re dealing with.

What Is the Difference Between Heat Stroke and Heat Exhaustion?

Both heat exhaustion and heat stroke happen when your body gets so hot that it cannot cool itself down.

Heat exhaustion is when your body loses too much water and salt, usually by sweating. If left unaddressed, heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke.

Signs of heat exhaustion include:

  • Increased heavy sweating

  • Weakened yet quickening heart rate

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • General weakness

  • Pale, clammy skin

Some people also experience lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting.

Heat stroke is when your body is no longer able to regulate its internal temperature. It is a serious medical emergency. Symptoms include:

  • Red, hot, dry, or moist skin

  • Rapid heart rate

  • Body temperature over 104°F

  • Change or loss of consciousness

Other Heat Illnesses to Watch Out for

Heat exhaustion and heat stroke aren’t the only heat-related illnesses to look out for:

  • Heat cramps

  • Heat rash

  • Heat syncope

  • Rhabdomyolysis

5 Tips to Avoid Heat Illnesses as a Construction Worker

     1. Stay Hydrated

Make sure to drink plenty of water when you’re out in the heat. A good rule of thumb is to drink about a quart of water every hour—don’t wait until you’re thirsty.

Avoid alcohol, coffee, and carbonated drinks (even carbonated water). They may feel refreshing, but they’ll only dehydrate you.

     2. Work in the Shade as Much as Possible

Try to stay out of the sun as much as you can.

If you need to work in the sun, make sure that you and your coworkers switch out so that everyone can get some time in the shade.

     3. Loop in Your Supervisor

Your supervisor should be on top of the ball and have a plan for how to make it through a hot workday. If they don’t, politely bring the heat to their attention.

Make sure to tell your supervisor if you are at a high risk for heat stroke and exhaustion, such as if you are on a certain medication, have a chronic illness, are considered obese, etc.

     4. Eat a Light, Healthy Lunch

What you eat in the heat will affect how well you can handle it.

Loading up on carbs while working in the heat will only make it harder on your digestive system and, therefore, your body. Try to eat a heavier breakfast and then a lighter, more refreshing lunch. Examples include salads and other fruit- and vegetable-heavy meals.

     5. Wear Lightweight Clothes and Cooling Gear

Wear lightweight clothes, such as cotton shirts, and avoid wearing unnecessary layers. Cooling vests, arm sleeves, and towels can also help you stay cool while working in a heat wave.

Can I Get Workers’ Compensation for Heat Stroke?

If heat stroke was brought on at work, you could file for workers’ compensation benefits. This applies even if you had a preexisting condition—you will simply need to show that heat stroke exacerbated your condition and led to further injury.

Learn Your Rights in a Free Consultation

At Koenigsberg & Associates Law Offices, we help injured construction workers recover compensation through workers’ comp and third-party work injury claims. Our team has recovered millions for clients in New York City, with offices in Queens, Brooklyn, and the Bronx.

Don’t let your employer or their insurance company shortchange you. We will work tirelessly to get every penny owed to you!

Call (718) 690-3132 to talk with a New York City injury attorney.