Heat-related illnesses become widespread during the summers in California as many outdoor workers will not take the necessary steps to stay safe. Other times, it’s the employers who may not do enough to ensure safety. If you work outdoors, you’ll want to consider the following tips for avoiding conditions like heat exhaustion and heatstroke.

Regarding water, food and rest breaks

Workers should consume plenty of water — 16 ounces before starting a given job and 5 to 7 ounces every 15 minutes after that. It must be water, too, and not a dehydrating liquid like coffee, tea or soft drinks. When it comes to eating, workers should opt for fruits that are high in fiber over foods with high protein. Frequent breaks are important, too. Employers should ideally provide a shaded or air-conditioned space for these.

Sunscreen and protective clothing

You want to make sure that your clothes are light-colored (these absorb less heat) and lightweight. They should not fit tightly. Sunscreen and a damp rag around the neck do much good as well.

Next, you should watch out for the symptoms of heat-related illness. Excessive sweating, together with dizziness, weakness and muscle cramps, can signify heat exhaustion. Heatstroke is characterized by a lack of sweating and by chills and slurred speech.

Guidance with a workers’ compensation claim

Perhaps you developed a heat-related illness while on the job. While this makes you eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, you may have trouble filing a claim and getting accepted. You could retain an attorney to give you advice and guidance. The lawyer may even help you mount an appeal should the employer deny payment. A successful claim could cover you for all your medical bills in addition to a portion of lost wages.