Heat Stroke: Teach the TACO Method

Heat Stroke: Teach the TACO Method

If cold water immersion is not an option, the Tarp-Assisted Cooling Oscillation method for treating heat stroke sufferers can save lives on remote jobsites.

The summer heat that’s welcome to sun lovers and vacationers can be dangerous and even deadly to workers. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that extreme heat is responsible for over 1,300 deaths every year in the United States. With global temperatures expected to continue rising, more and more workers will soon be at risk of heat stroke and other debilitating conditions caused by overheating and the loss of body fluids and salts.

Treatment for heat stroke is clear for facilities and jobsites with the right equipment like full-body immersion tubs, but it can be difficult or even impossible to lug a large tub along to every job location. So, what do remote teams need to know if someone on the jobsite falls victim to heat stroke? Teaching everyone the facts about heat stroke and equipping them with the right gear and knowledge to treat sufferers in any location can save a life.

You Need to Cool a Heat Stroke Sufferer—Fast

If a worker experiences heat stroke, they can develop serious injuries if they are not treated within 30 minutes of initial collapse. These injuries can include permanent damage to the brain, liver, kidneys and heart via hyperthermia, swelling or disintegrating damaged muscle tissue. These injuries can damage internal organs to the point of needing an organ transplant, regardless of whether the worker had any underlying medical conditions beforehand or not. Heat stroke overwhelms the body’s ability to regulate core temperature. In the worst cases, this can be fatal.

Even if a worker survives with organs and muscles intact, they can have a compromised heat tolerance, which means their body can no longer react to the heat as well as it did before. They may notice their body temperature increases faster, they don’t sweat as much and they start to exhibit signs and symptoms of heat illness more quickly than in the past.

What Are the Symptoms of Heat Stroke?

Heat stroke occurs when the body becomes so hot, it can no longer shed enough heat to prevent damage, which causes a range of symptoms, including:

  • Dizziness
  • Flushed skin
  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Staggering or physical collapse
  • Strong and rapid pulse
  • Rapid breathing
  • Muscle cramps or weakness
  • Irrational behavior
  • Seizures
  • Unconsciousness

This article originally appeared in the issue of .

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