Heat Illnesses: Another Summer Issue To Keep In Mind

In Florida, summer can be both a blessing and a curse. There’s nothing like soaking up the sun at a local park, beach, or on the boat, and a relaxing, warm paradise is never far away. But those same temperatures can be deadly, too, particularly for people who spend long amount of time outside for work.

Types of Heat Illness

When they’re not at the beach, most people try to avoid the blistering summer sun as much as possible. For some people in certain professions, however, this isn’t always an option. For people who work in fields like construction, lawn maintenance, or delivery, spending long hours outside is often part of the job description. When working in hot or humid conditions, a variety of heat-related illnesses can arise, including:

  • Heatstroke
  • Heat exhaustion
  • Heat cramps
  • Milaria, or heat rash

Heatstroke is the most serious of these illnesses. It occurs when the body reaches a temperature of 104 degrees or higher. It can lead to a loss of consciousness, seizures, and damage to the brain and other internal organs. When someone suffers from heatstroke, their symptoms might include dry skin, a rapid pulse, and dizziness. Exhaustion, cramps, and rash are generally less serious, but can be a warning sign of heatstroke.

Heat Illnesses and Workers’ Compensation

When employees are subjected to hot conditions, their employers need to take extra care to avoid heat illnesses. They should be trained to recognize the signs of heat distress, and allow workers time to drink water or cool down in the shade.

If an employer suffers a heat illness at work, their illness, medical expenses, and any lost time should be covered by workers’ compensation, since the illness was caused or aggravated by their working conditions. In certain situations, particularly those involving preexisting conditions, an employer might argue that a condition, like a heart defect, lead to the heatstroke, rather than the working conditions.  However, even if their working environment aggravates their conditions, they still deserve some benefits.

Avoiding Heatstroke

Everyone, not just outdoor workers, can take summer heat prevention into their own hands. Some steps to avoid heatstroke and other heat illness include:

  • Wearing light colors, loose fitting clothing, and a hat
  • Drinking plenty of fluids, preferably water
  • Finding a shady spot to periodically cool down in
  • Avoiding extremely hot areas, like the inside of parked cars. Never leave a child or pet in a parked car, even for a few minutes!
  • Knowing the signs of heatstroke

Whether you’re working, exercising, or simply enjoying some sun this summer, look out for heat related illness! By taking these simple steps, you can make sure a fun summer day doesn’t turn deadly or dangerous.


The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.


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