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Local construction workers brave the heat

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QUINCY (WGEM) -- With a job that requires working long hours in the sun comes an increase in the likelihood of experiencing heat exhaustion.

Matt Koontz, Vice President of Dale Koontz Builder, said he and his co-workers have experienced it before.

To prevent it form happening again, he and his crew wear sunscreen, take breaks from working, and drink lots of water.

"We're big advocates of taking frequent water breaks and watching not only yourself, but keeping an eye on your guys and making sure someone you're working with isn't acting funny or moving differently. You take a break and make sure you'll still hydrated," Koontz said.

With temperatures getting hotter even earlier in the day, construction workers try to beat the heat by starting their work around 6 a.m.

When framer Chris Benz sees a co-worker stumbling or acting differently due to the heat, he said he knows exactly what to do.

"I mean if I see one person starting to slow down and not act normal, I would just call a break for everybody, go find a shady spot, sit down, get them something to drink and keep an eye on them," Benz said.

This past week, Blessing Hospital administrators said they have seen an increase in patients with heat-related illness side effects or the heat making chronic illnesses worse.

Nurse practitioner Jaryn Black explained what to do if someone you know is experiencing heat exhaustion.

"First, if they're starting to feel dizzy, and they're standing, if they can safely sit to the ground that's always better because it puts them lower to the ground. But then also making sure you remove yourself from the heat and get somewhere cool or shaded," Black said.

Black said you should seek medical help if your symptoms are severe or aren't improving.

To prevent heat exhaustion from happening, she recommends wearing light-colored, loose-fitting clothes, staying hydrated with non-caffeinated drinks, wearing sunscreen, and avoiding the sun for long periods of time.

Common signs and symptoms of heat-related illness include headache, increasing heart and respiratory rate, dizziness, nausea, confusion, and vomiting.

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Rebecca Duffy

Multimedia Journalist

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