If your job requires you to work outside in the sweltering summer heat in California, you run a high risk for a heat-related illness like heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat rash or heat cramps. Heat stroke in particular can be deadly or lead to a permanent disability if you don’t receive immediate treatment. With the following tips in mind, you can avoid becoming a victim.

Ways to avoid heat-related illness

Staying hydrated is one of the basic rules. Stay away from dehydrating liquids like coffee, tea and alcohol. As for food, keep meals small, eat fruits that are high in fiber and avoid foods high in protein. You should wear clothing that’s lightweight and loose-fitting. The color should be light, too. Wear a damp rag around the neck to wipe your face with occasionally.

Try not to overwork yourself; know your limits. Take plenty of breaks in a shaded or air-conditioned area. Lastly, be aware of the symptoms of heat-related illness.

Symptoms to watch out for

You’ll know you have heat stroke if you stop sweating and you get the chills. Heat exhaustion will lead to excessive sweating, clammy skin and dizziness. In both cases, you’ll experience confusion. Heat cramps occur in the abdomen, legs or arms and are accompanied by spasms. Heat rash appears as a cluster of red pimples or blisters.

What to do after a heat-related illness

Workers’ compensation law covers occupational injuries or illnesses. Assuming that your condition was clearly work-related, you may receive compensation for your medical expenses and be paid out a percentage of your average weekly income as a part of temporary disability leave. The workers’ comp program may also pay out for total or partial permanent disability leave. To see how your case might go, you may want to consult a workers’ comp lawyer.