Q I collapsed from the heat on the job, and I want to file for worker’s compensation. How can I tell if it was heat stroke or heat exhaustion?
Heat exhaustion is a condition caused by prolonged exposure to high temperatures, such as working outdoors in peak summer hours. If heat exhaustion is allowed to progress, the victims may suffer heat stroke: a condition in which the body’s core temperature rises above 105°F.
While many symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke overlap, the latter occurs when a person can no longer cool his own body temperature. At this point, sweating stops and body temperature continues to rise, causing loss of consciousness, seizures, and permanent brain damage. Heatstroke victims who do not receive immediate medical attention may fall into a coma, suffer organ failure, or even die as a result.
Signs and symptoms of heat stroke include:
- Skin that is hot and dry to the touch
- Lack of sweating
- Anger or confusion
- Increased breathing and pulse rates
- Altered consciousness
- Nausea or vomiting
- Cardiac arrest
The biggest difference between heat stroke and heat exhaustion is the lack of sweating in the victim. If you collapsed and were revived by a medical emergency team, you should examine your medical records carefully to determine the extent of your injury. If you were left alone during a heat-intensive task or were not given adequate breaks or sun protection, you may have a case against your employer.
If you collapsed from heat on the job, the legal team at Manfred F. Ricciardelli, Jr., can help you get the benefits you deserve. Call (877) 360-0183 today or fill out the contact form on this page to get your free, one-on-one case evaluation with a New Jersey worker’s compensation attorney. You can also download our free electronic book, What the Injured Worker Needs to Know: Your Workers Comp Guide.