For some truckers, extreme heat can typically become an afterthought, but as summer temperatures continue to rise the risk of heat related illness rises as well. 

Heat exhaustion results from dehydration when the body has been depleted of salt and fluids. If you are constantly exposed to high temperatures and lack of fluids, heat exhaustion may develop into a heat stroke which occurs when the body can no longer regulate its core temperature.

Another temperature related illness, heat cramps, commonly occurs when body salts are low and your muscles grow tired after working long hours. Finally, heat rash can be a real irritant that occurs when sweat is not able to evaporate from the skin, causing an uncomfortable rash. 

Scorching heat can be deadly, so it’s important to know the signs of heat related illnesses, stay cool, and take preventative measures. Equipped with a few supplies and knowledge, drivers can prevent heat related illnesses from affecting them on the road or dockside waiting for their next load. 


Take preventative measures 

The best way for a trucker to avoid heat exhaustion and other heat related illnesses is to take some preventative measures.

Being aware of your body’s needs when you are exposed to high temperatures is a priority and following a few simple tips can help you avoid any potential issues. 

  • Drink plenty of beverages that contain little or no caffeine
  • Take breaks when necessary and seek cooler conditions like shaded areas or air conditioned facilities 
  • Regularly apply and reapply sunscreen to protect yourself against the sun’s harmful UV rays 
  • Wear lightweight, light colored, and loose fitting clothing 
  • Keep a cool, wet towel available to wrap around your neck to help cool you off and regulate your body temperature 


Know the signs

If not treated immediately, heat exhaustion can quickly turn into a heat stroke which can cause permanent damage. If you are a trucker, it is especially important that you are able to recognize these signs of heat stroke and heat exhaustion. 

Heat exhaustion can be identified by the following symptoms: 

  • Cool moist skin
  • Heavy sweating
  • Headache
  • Vomiting or nausea
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Weakness
  • Insatiable thirst
  • Elevated heart rate

Heat stroke, however, is a bit different and can be identified by the following symptoms:

  • Fainting
  • Seizures
  • Confusion
  • Excessive sweating and red, hot, dry skin
  • Extremely high body temperatures


Take immediate action

If you begin to show any of the above symptoms, it is crucial that action is taken immediately.

Treatment for heat exhaustion includes the following: 

  • Drink plenty of non-caffeinated and non-alcoholic beverages
  • Remove any tight or unnecessary clothing
  • Take a cool shower or bath
  • Use fans, or seek out some air conditioning
  • Apply ice packs or cool towels to your body

If these treatments fail to provide you with relief, seek immediate medical attention. 


At TransWood, we value the safety of our employees in addition to those we share the road with. That’s why we always keep our eye on safety. Visit our website for weekly news updates and to learn more about maintaining a healthy lifestyle as a trucker. 

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