Construction worker falls victim to heat

By Mark Bullock - bio | email

Montgomery, AL (WSFA) - Before a line of thunderstorms moved into central Alabama, we were baking in the summer sun. A Montgomery construction worker fell victim to the heat Tuesday afternoon.

It happened at a construction site on Highway 231 in north Montgomery County.

"One of the construction workers found him slumped over one of the pipes," said Chief Thomas Barker of the North Montgomery Volunteer Fire Department. "They automatically got him into a truck and into a cool environment."

The worker was rushed to the hospital. It appeared that he would be ok.

But it could have very easily been worse, according to doctors.

"Heat stroke is life threatening. People die," said Family Practitioner, Dr. David Coffey.

Coffey says most people think they're ok, when in fact, they're not drinking enough fluids.

He also recommends taking breaks to those who work in the sun. If your brain reaches 106 degrees, you're in trouble.

"The proteins in your brain actually begin to cook and that's not a pleasant thing and if that were to maintain itself for 24 hours, it would be irreversible," Coffey explained.

If you think it can't happen to you, think about this. That construction worker is only 24 years old and believed to be in perfect health.

So if you can, weather out the heat in the air conditioning. And if you can't, know when to get medical help. It very well could be a matter of life and death.

"Trust in your body," said Chief Barker. "Your're body is going to tell you when you're getting overheated."

Often, heat stroke victims can't make rational decisions, so it's important that you have friends or co-workers who can help.

Alabama averages 13 heat related deaths per year.