Heat stress : acclimatization
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Heat stress : acclimatization
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    New employees are at the highest risk for heat illness. Acclimatization is crucial to working in hot conditions. Things you need to know: 1. Heat acclimatization is the improvement in heat tolerance that comes from gradually increasing the intensity or duration of work per formed in a hot setting. 2. The best way to acclimatize yourself to the heat is to increase the workload per formed in a hot setting gradually over a period of 1-2 weeks. 3. You begin to lose your acclimatization after about 1 week away from working in the heat. What are the benefits of heat acclimatization? 1. Heat exposure causes less strain to the heart and other vital organs. 2. Sweating improves (higher volume, earlier onset), which cools the body more quickly. Acclimatized workers need more water - not less - due to increased sweating. 3. Workers increase their ability to comfortably perform physical tasks in the heat. Tips for acclimatization: 1. Best results will come from gradually increasing work time in hot conditions over a period of 7 to 14 days, and cooling off and fully rehydrating between shifts. 2. Pushing to the point of heat exhaustion will hurt, not help, your heat tolerance. 3. Typically, acclimatization requires at least two hours of heat exposure per day (which can be broken into two, 1-hour periods). 4. The body will acclimatize to the level of work demanded of it. Simply being in a hot place is not sufficient. Doing light or brief physical work in the heat will acclimatize you ONLY to light, brief work. More strenuous or longer tasks require more acclimatization. 5. Stay hydrated! Dehydration reduces the benefits of heat acclimatization. 6. Eating regular meals aids acclimatization. Food replaces electrolytes lost in sweat, especially during the first few days of acclimatization, when you lose the most salt in sweat. 7. Physical fitness aids acclimatization. How quickly does the body LOSE heat tolerance after acclimatization? 1. Acclimatization will be maintained for a few days after heat exposure stops, but will begin to be lost after about 1 week away from working in the heat. 2. After 1 month away from work in the heat, most people's heat tolerance will have returned to baseline. 3. Working for 1-2 days in cooler conditions or taking breaks in air conditioning will not hurt acclimatization. NIOSHTIC no. 20049651
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