The summer is just around the corner, and with it comes soaring temperatures, afternoon thunderstorms and humid days. If you work in this heat, you may have experienced days where you felt unwell or knew that you were just too dehydrated to be outside. It might have been hard to cool down or felt hard to breathe because the air was so thick.

The likelihood is that you were dealing with particularly humid days on the days when you struggled most. Humidity can be a real problem for workers because it doesn’t allow the human body to cool as well as it would on a dry day.

When you sweat, your body is trying to cool itself. That sweat needs to be evaporated off the skin. When that doesn’t happen due to humidity, you could face developing signs of heat stress.

High humidity can have many different adverse effects on the human body from feelings of fatigue or lethargy to fainting and heat stroke.

What are the signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke?

Some signs to watch out for as you work include:

  • Feeling fatigued
  • Being dehydrated
  • Muscle cramps
  • Fainting
  • A high body temperature
  • Feeling hot but not sweating

If you see these signs, make sure you move to somewhere cooler, such as an air-conditioned building or an air-conditioned vehicle, to bring down your body temperature. If you don’t start to feel better quickly, then it is necessary to get to a hospital or call 911.

Staying cool is essential on the job, so talk to your employer about cooling vests, air conditioning, taking more rest breaks, hydration and other essentials that can keep you feeling your best while you’re working in humid weather.