Ounce of prevention

With summer temperatures starting to rise, the Postal Service wants employees to recognize symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke, two types of heat-related illnesses.

Heat exhaustion symptoms include cool, moist skin; heavy sweating; headache; nausea or vomiting; dizziness; light-headedness; weakness; thirst; irritability; and a fast heartbeat.

Here are first-aid guidelines for people who experience heat exhaustion: Call 911; sit or lie down in a cool, shaded area; drink plenty of water or other cool beverages; and use cool compresses or ice packs if available.

Employees suffering from heat exhaustion should not return to work that day.

Heat stroke symptoms include confusion; fainting; seizures; excessive sweating or red, hot, dry skin; and a very high body temperature.

Here are first-aid guidelines for people who experience heat stroke: Call 911; rest in a shaded, cool area; loosen clothes; remove outer clothing; use a fan and place cold packs under armpits if available; wet clothing with cool water; apply ice packs, cool compresses or ice if available; drink water or other fluids as soon as possible; and stay with the victim until help arrives.

To avoid heat-related illnesses, the Postal Service wants employees to take the following proactive steps:

Hydrate before, during and after work. Drink at least 8 ounces of water every 20 minutes.

• Dress appropriately for the weather. On warm days, wear light-colored, loose-fitting and breathable clothing to keep your body temperature down.

• Use the shade to stay cool. When possible, use shaded areas to stay out of direct sunlight.

The Safety Blue page has more information.