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Keeping Cool When It's Hot Hot Hot

>>AMY SUSAN: Working outside during extreme heat can be dangerous business if not properly prepared. Hi, I'm Amy Susan, Communications Director for the Missouri Department of Labor and I'm joined here with Margaret Donnelly at the state fair. She's the Director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services and again, we're at the fair where hundreds of people work day and night in the heat to make sure we all have a great time. So, Margaret, tell us knowing that 150 people were injured last year or experienced heat related injuries, what types of tips or guidance do you have for guys?

>>MARGARET DONNELLY: Well, there's some really basic things that you can do to protect yourself if you have to work in extreme heat. First of all, you want to be sure that you wear protective clothing and hats and things so you are not exposed to the sun. Also, be sure to drink plenty of water. Water is your best liquid to be able to drink. You want to take breaks. Get into the shade, if you have access to air conditioning; make sure you go cool off in the air conditioning. And then, also, have a buddy system with your coworkers so you can begin to recognize if you would be starting to suffer from heat related illness and be sure that you can recognize those signs.

>>AMY: If someone doesn't necessarily listen to those tips or address those in their day to day, working outside, how does a sunburn affect their job?

>>MARGARET: A sunburn damages the skin and causes the overall body to be dehydrated, so it can be painful, which will make doing your job much harder. So, if you have suffered from a sunburn you have to be sure that you don't get any more exposure. You can use pain reliever, lotions; try to do everything you can to help relieve that pain because the sunburn needs time to heal. You might also find that your eyes are itchy and dry because when you have a sunburn the eyes can be impacted that they may have actually gotten some burn as well.

>>AMY: And I imagine it doesn't feel too well if you have to go back into the heat the next day with that sunburn.

>>MARGARET: Right. So the next day will be so important to follow those tips about protective clothing and having light colored clothing that reflects the sunlight is the best and then also making sure that you continue to be hydrated very well.

>>AMY: When can a worker develop a heat related illness?

>>MARGARET: Well, we know that certain occupations, working around asphalt, concrete, on a roof with shingles; those occupations really have to be careful. But in addition, some people have some chronic conditions that make it more likely that the heat impacts you. Certain medications that you take will warn you, make sure and look at it exposure to the sun or heat might make it more likely to suffer from a heat related illness. So, there are certain conditions that can elevate your risk. That's why going back to those basic tips becomes even more important.

>>AMY: Overall, why is it so important to say cool when temperatures are so hot?

>>MARGARET: Heat related illness can be really dangerous for an individual and you want to be sure that you watch for the signs. That would mean you're sweating excessively, you might start feeling light headed, have a head ache, feel nauseous. All of those things are a sign that you could be getting a heat related illness and it's dangerous and we have people every year who have to be treated in hospitals and, unfortunately, some even die from having exposure to high heat and not having taken the precautions to protect their body. So, for all workers who do work out in this summer heat, which we can't escape from, it's really important to follow those basic tips to keep safe.

>>AMY: Well, thank you again Margaret for joining us.

>>MARGARET: Thank you for having me today.

>>AMY: Alright. And you can visit labor.mo.gov if you have any comments, questions or concerns. Thanks.