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This week has been so hot and steamy, we want to make sure you avoid the dangers of heat stress and sun exposure. 

According to the United States Center for Disease Control (CDC), heat related stress kills over 300 persons per year. 

To avoid heat stress, be sure to drink plenty of water.  Illinois Prairie Electric, Inc. employees are encouraged to begin their day at the shop fixing coolers of iced water or Gatorade.  Refillable bottles make a good companion for any tool bag.  Remember, soda and carbonated drinks may taste good, but they will only  dehydrate you more!

When working outdoors, be sure to scope the area for sources of shade.  Permanent structures such as trees, fixed overhangs, or pavilions may be nearby, and can serve as a good place to take your breaks.  If nothing like this is available, consider using a small portable canopy to shade your work area. 

Sun exposure also poses a substantial threat during the summer months.  Make   applying sunscreen lotion to your face, neck, ears, and arms part of your morning routine.  Many lotions require reapplication every few hours, so throw a bottle of it in your tool bag.  A hat and long sleeves in a light, breathable fabric can also help to block out harmful sun rays. 

Signs of overexposure include the sudden onset of confusion or forgetfulness, irritability, belligerence, lightheadedness, lack of coordination, fatigue, and paradoxical chills. 

When these signs appear, stop activity immediately, move to a cool, shady area, and drink some fluids. 

During the summer months, special care should also be taken with children and the elderly.  Check on your neighbors and loan them fans if they don’t have air conditioning. 

More safety tips and printable flyers can be found at www.ipelec.biz/safety

What other summer safety suggestions do you have?  Post them as a reply to this post!