If you work outdoors in Georgia, you know how bad the summers can be. You run the risk of suffering a heat-related illness, including heatstroke, heat rash, heat cramps and heat exhaustion.

Important: If you experience a heat-related illness at work, you could pass out, fall down and suffer an injury. The risk is particularly high if you work in construction, landscaping, mail or package delivery, or agriculture. If you use power tools or other equipment, a heat-related illness could lead to an injury involving the equipment. There have also been cases of overheated workers passing out while driving.

Also important: A valid workers’ compensation claim does not have to involve an injury to a specific body part like your neck or back. You may have a valid workers’ compensation claim for the heat-related illness itself if you suffered the illness due to your outdoors work environment. In fact, you may have a valid workers’ compensation claim for a heat-related illness suffered in an indoors work environment like a warehouse or factory.

You can lower the risk of heat-related injury and illness by taking the following safety tips to heart:

Knowing the symptoms of heat-related illness

The symptoms can be wide-ranging. Heatstroke, for example, is characterized by a lack of sweating and dry, reddish skin, while heat exhaustion is characterized by excessive sweating and clammy skin. With either — heatstroke or head exhaustion — you could experience mental confusion.

Heat cramps can result from excessive sweating. You could experience cramps and spasms in the abdomen, legs and arms.

Heat rash typically appears as a cluster of red pimples or blisters, usually on the neck and upper chest.

The importance of shade and plenty of breaks

While working, you should pace yourself and never rush. Take frequent breaks, preferably in a shady or air-conditioned area, and drink lots of water. It’s also a good idea to avoid tea, coffee and alcohol because they cause dehydration. As for food, doctors say to make the portions small and high in fiber.

Wear sunscreen and have a damp rag over the neck. Your clothing should be loose-fitting and lightweight. If it’s a light color, it won’t absorb as much heat.

What to do if you were injured on the job

If you were injured on the job, or if you suffer a work-related illness, you can file for workers’ compensation benefits. Georgia workers’ compensation is a no-fault system. You don’t have to prove that anyone was at fault for your injury or illness. However, it can be difficult to get all the medical and wage-replacement benefits you deserve. To learn more about workers’ compensation and how to maximize your benefits, please see our workers’ compensation overview.