Environmental Health & Safety

Heat Stress

The Wilmington area is sure to experience extremely hot weather this summer. Please take special precautions to avoid heat-related illness in unusually hot weather when working outdoors or in unconditioned indoor environments. Heat-related illness is preventable by following the guidelines and tips on these websites when working outdoors in hot weather.

Heat Related Emergencies

National Weather Service - Wilmington

Tips for keeping cool

  • Drink small amounts of cool water frequently, regardless of your activity level. Drink throughout the day.
  • Replace salt and minerals. A sports beverage can replace the salt and minerals you lose in sweat.
  • Wear appropriate clothing. Choose lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
  • Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat. Sunglasses and sunscreen (SPF 15 or higher) are also recommended.
  • Schedule outdoor work carefully. If outdoor work must be done in hot weather, try to limit it to morning hours. Limit sun exposure during mid-day hours. Consider rotating outdoor work schedules among co-workers.
  • Pace yourself. Start slowly and pick up the pace gradually.
  • Monitor yourself for signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses.
  • Take time to cool down. Rest often in shady areas. A few hours in air conditioning can help you stay cooler for longer while in the heat.
  • Use a buddy system. When working in the heat, monitor the condition of your co-workers and have someone do the same for you.
  • Monitor those at high risk. Some people are at greater risk than others, including people who are overweight, people who overexert themselves, and people with heart disease or high blood pressure, or who take certain medications.
  • Take time to acclimate to heat and humidity. A heat wave is stressful to your body. You will have a greater tolerance to heat if you limit physical activity until you become accustomed to it.

*Adapted from Be Safe in Hot Weather by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.