During the hotter days of summer in Minnesota, you may run a high risk for a heat-related illness if you work outside. There’s a range of heat-related illnesses, including heat exhaustion, heat rash, heat cramps and heatstroke. Below is a brief summary of what they are and how to avoid getting them.

Heat exhaustion and heat stroke

With the loss of water and salt comes heat exhaustion. Victims of this begin to sweat excessively and experience fatigue, dizziness and mental confusion. It can be accompanied by heat cramps, which can affect the abdomen, legs and arms and be punctuated by muscle spasms. Heat rashes, also caused by loss of water and salt, appear as clusters of red pimples or blisters.

Heatstroke occurs when the body cannot regulate its temperature. Symptoms include lack of sweating, confusion, slurred speech and dry, red skin. It’s the most serious heat-related disorder, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

Ways to avoid these illnesses

You can drastically cut down on the risk for these disorders by first of all drinking plenty of water. No other liquid, be it coffee or energy drinks, can substitute for this. You also want to avoid sun exposure as much as possible. Go to a shaded or air-conditioned area for frequent breaks and try to set a good pace for work.

What injured outdoor workers can do

Both occupational injuries and illnesses can form the basis for a workers’ compensation case. If you were hurt while on the job, you’ll first want to report the incident to your employer and explain that you’ll be filing a claim. Though a workers’ comp claim does not require you to prove anyone’s negligence, you may still have benefits denied, so it may be wise to hire a lawyer for guidance.