Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Heat Exhaustion and Sun Poisoning

Yes, even in Alaska heat-related illnesses are still a problem. Now that it finally stopped raining, we've been working hard and long hours trying to catch up on all the work that got delayed on account of the mud.  Well, working 8-10 hours a day in 80+ with near-constant sunlight has finally caught up to us and we're both suffering from a bit of heat exhaustion and sun poisoning. Even though we were trying to stay hydrated and taking cool-down breaks every couple of hours, it apparently wasn't enough. Yesterday I nearly passed out and spent the rest of the evening/night battling nausea and stomach cramps, a headache and the shakes. G has a lovely patch of sun welts (hive-like blisters, but no sunburn) on his torso, moderate muscle cramps and an unhappy tummy.

Today, we're taking a break and drinking lots of fluids trying to get fully rehydrated while attempting to stay cool with water baths and cold packs. It's hard to believe that you can get hyperthermia in only 80-ish weather, but I guess once your body acclimates to temps that are 100 or more degrees lower you just can't tolerate the heat anymore... at least not enough to be doing hard manual labor in it. We're going to try adjusting our schedule so that we're working in the early early morning and late late evening, which should help with the temps even if it doesn't help that much with the sun. Hopefully we won't get sick or nearly keel over with a running chainsaw again! We're just lucky that neither of us actually had full-blown heat stroke and that we got our freezer last week.


Urbancowgrrl said...

No fun! I had sun poisoning a couple years ago when I was in Phoenix. And heat exhaustion is definitely no fun. I'm not surprised though - bodies do acclimate rather quickly to "average temperatures" and 80+ degrees is hot for me in Seattle to be doing manual labor because it's rarely hot here and it doesn't even get as cold during the winter here.

Sam.... said...

Maybe you should have been taking your breaks *inside* the freezer! ;)