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Dog Days of Summer: How Heat Exhaustion Can Quickly Become Deadly

heat stressed worker

[Editor’s Note: Be sure to register for our Spanish-language webinar on heat stress, offered tomorrow, Wednesday, May 25th: “Antes de los días de verano, aprenda cómo los Promotores de Salud pueden ayudar en prevenir enfermedades a causa del calor.”  This webinar will also be presented in English on June 8th. Learn more about heat-related illness on our new heat-related illness webpage; click here to read more about our webinars].

One week ago, the high in southern Florida was 91 degrees Fahrenheit, with 65 percent humidity, and a good 18 mile per hour wind -- a typical late May day in Florida, but a deadly day for one farmworker. Jean Francais Alcime, 50, complained of heat exhaustion to his superiors in the tomato fields where he worked, and was provided with ice and water before he loaded onto a bus that was transporting farmworkers out of the fields.  During the two-hour trip, he once again spoke up to express serious concern about his condition, and a co-worker assisted in relaying the information to the farm contractor and bus owner. The bus owner recommended that Alcime rest during the bus ride and seek medical attention should he still need it at the end of the ride, but when the bus reached its destination, Alcime was dead.

As Alcime’s untimely and unnecessary death illustrates, heat exhaustion is a serious, life-threatening, and wholly preventable illness.

This week is Extreme Heat Week, designated by the White House to encourage community preparedness as we head into the hottest months here in North America. Community Health Workers/promotores de salud, clinicians, and other health advocates are invited to learn more about heat stress and how to prevent it in tomorrow’s Spanish-language webinar (and in English on June 8), presented by Migrant Clinicians Network and offered for free. Antes de los días de verano, aprenda cómo los Promotores de Salud pueden ayudar en prevenir enfermedades a causa del calor/Before the dog days of summer, learn how community health workers can help prevent heat stress will equip participants to recognize heat stress, address heat-related illness with workers, and review employer and worker rights and responsibilities in relation to heat stress. Participants will come away with resources designed specifically for migrant and other underserved populations.

The best way to commemorate the hundreds of workers who have died on the job is to assure that other workers do not share the same fate. In addition to offering our heat-related illness webinars, MCN is proud to release its new Heat-Related Illness webpage, with extensive information on the risks of heat-related illness for migrants as well as relevant and updated resources.  You may also read more about the webinar and register on Migrant Clinicians Network’s Upcoming Webinars page.

Register for tomorrow’s Spanish language webinar: Antes de los días de verano, aprenda cómo los Promotores de Salud pueden ayudar en prevenir enfermedades a causa del calor.

Register for the English language webinar on June 8: Before the dog days of summer, learn how community health workers can help prevent heat stress.

 

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