First Aid for Heat-Related Illness



As an employer, you have a duty to provide first aid. This includes first aid equipment and facilities as well as having access to trained first aid officers.


The table below will summarise some basic first aid actions and symptoms of potential heat-related illness an Australian employee in a physical role may be subject to. It is important to note that if symptoms don't improve seek medical attention.

Heat-related Illness

Symptoms

First Aid

Dehydration

Mild to severe thirst (remember that thirst is satisfied before fluid loss is fully replaced).

Drink water. Avoid caffeinated, carbonated and alcoholic drinks, and salt tablets.

Dry lips and tongue. Slowed mental function and lowered performance.

Loosen tight clothing and remove unnecessary clothing, including PPE.

Reduced or dark urine output.

Replace electrolytes.

Heat Rash

Itchy rash with small raised red spots on the face, neck, back, chest or thighs.

Move to a cooler, less humid environment. Keep the affected area dry and remove unnecessary clothing, including PPE. Apply a cold compress.

Heat Cramps

Painful cramps that can incapacitate a worker. Usually noticed when undertaking physically demanding tasks.

Stop activity and rest quietly in a cool place until recovered. Drink an electrolyte solution.

Fainting

Heat syncope while standing or sitting.

Lie the worker flat immediately with their legs slightly raised. Do not raise the head. Treat as for heat stroke and follow medical advice.

Heat Stroke - Call Ambulance Immediately

Dehydration, thirst and reduced or dark urine output. Sweating, or they may even stop sweating.

Call 000 or your states emergency number and evacuate by ambulance. Ensure that the ambulance is updated if the worker experiences seizures or becomes unconscious.

Skin can be pink, warm and dry, or cool and blue.

If cardiac arrest occurs follow DRSABCD action plan.

High body temperature above 39 degrees Celsius.

If practicable and safe to do, immersion in a cold bath water is the most effective means for cooling a person. Whole-body from the neck down (preferably 1-7) for 15 minutes. If not possible splash water and use a fan for evaporation.

Weakness/fatigue. Cramps. Pounding, rapid pulse. Headache, dizziness and visual disturbances. Nausea/vomiting, unwilling to drink. Slower reaction times. Disorientation or impaired judgement. Tingling or numbness.

Move the worker to a cool place with circulating air. Remove unnecessary clothing including PPE. Loosen tight clothing. Provide an electrolyte solution with sugar. Do not attempt to give oral fluid if the worker is not fully conscious. Apply cold packs to the worker's neck, groin and armpits.

Shivering

Shivering is an automatic muscular reaction which warms the body, we don't want this. Stop cooling immediately and cover them until they stop. Recommence first aid treatment.





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