Updated: 22 May 2020
The prevention and management of heat-related illness often requires education, peer-to-peer support and formal protocols.
Appropriate strategies depend primarily on the environmental conditions within facilities and the acclimatization and fitness of staff.11 If entire facilities can be cooled safely, this is very effective, but is often unfeasible or insufficient, with the result that other measures are needed. As heat stress is produced through exertion as well as exposure to hot conditions, decisions on what activities staff undertake and how shifts and rotations are managed is also crucial.
Wearing PPE increases heat stress, but other conditions that also put health workers at higher risk of heat-related illnesses, include: working in hot ambulatory care services, field hospitals or other temporary facilities that are not adequately cooled; working long shifts with limited breaks or insufficient time to recover before returning to work; and having limited access or opportunity to consume fluids to stay hydrated.