All of us at South Dakota 811 hope you’re having a great Memorial Day holiday.  Of course, all good things must come to an end, and that means back to work tomorrow.  If you’re one of the many people who make your living outdoors through excavation, contracting, or other related work, keep an eye on the sky.

Because it’s summer in South Dakota – and as we all know, that could mean anything.  While freak snowstorms are generally out of the question, we will be getting our share of heat.

Outside heat falls into three categories:  Heat, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke.

To protect against heat:

  • Wear loose-fitting, lightweight clothing.  REMEMBER YOUR HARD HAT!!!!!
  • Protect against sunburn –  dermatologists recommend a sunscreen with a SPF of at least 30.  More is always better!
  • Drink plenty of fluids. Water is best.  Avoid caffeinated products.
  • Take it easy during the hottest parts of the day.

These are warning signs of heat exhaustion:

  • Fatigue, weakness, dizzy or nauseous
  • Sweating profusely, rapid pulse, fast shallow breathing
  • Muscle weakness or cramps

If you or a co-worker experience any of these symptoms, get out of the heat quickly and rest in a cool, shady place. Drink plenty of water or other fluids containing sugar and salt. Do NOT drink alcohol or caffeine.  If you don’t feel better within 30 minutes, get help. If heat exhaustion isn’t treated, it can progress to heat stroke.

If any of these heat stroke warning signs are present, seek medical treatment immediately.

  • Skin that feels hot and dry, but not sweaty
  • Confusion or loss of consciousness; throbbing headache
  • Frequent vomiting
  • Shortness of breath or trouble breathing

Move the victim to a cooler location, remove heavy clothing, fan the body and wet it down with a cool sponge or cloth, and encourage the individual to drink cool fluids.

Remember, heat stroke can be deadly.

Don’t forget your sunglasses!

Until next week, safe digging!

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