WBGT: A Key Measurement in Preventing Heat Stress Injury

WBGT: A Key Measurement in Preventing Heat Stress Injury

Heat stress is a condition that occurs when the body is unable to regulate its internal temperature and cool itself through sweating. Heat stress shows many symptoms and encompasses several heat-induced illnesses such as heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps and heat rashes. These conditions are more likely to occur during hot summer months, but may affect workers and athletes in various climates and conditions year round. The most common composite measurement used to determine appropriate exposure to heat stress conditions is Wet Bulb Globe Temperature or "WBGT".

Heat stress injuries pose a serious risk to people expected to perform or work in an environment where hot and humid conditions exist.

Wet Bulb Globe Temperature (WBGT) takes into account ambient temperature, relative humidity, wind, and solar radiation from the sun to get a composite value that can be used when monitoring environmental conditions during exercise in the heat. WBGT is a preferred measurement model for monitoring safety in athletes and those working in hot and humid conditions.

"Establishing WBGT guidelines that dictate modifications in activity (work:rest ratios, hydration breaks, equipment worn, length of practice) at given WBGT temperatures play a huge factor in helping to prevent EHS.

As environmental temperature and humidity increase, there is an increase in the heat stress that is placed on the exercising individual. Exercise in the heat causes athletes to rely on evaporation of sweat from the skin as the primary method of dissipating heat that is produced by the working muscles. As humidity increases, the ability to dissipate heat through evaporation is further hindered, thus causing the body to have an increased body temperature, which increases the risk of EHS."
--Korey Stringer Institute

Wet Bulb Globe Temperature Monitoring

Monitoring WBGT to ensure safety and prevent heat-related illness and injury is simple with a Kestrel 5400 Heat Stress Tracker. The handheld meter eliminates the need for traditional methods of measuring WBGT such as using distilled water, bulky globes, complicated setup or other expensive equipment.

For further convenience, athletic trainers and coaches are able to set the appropriate WBGT thresholds for alerts and the loud buzzer, bright LED beacon and on-screen warnings provide instant notification of dangerous conditions. The Kestrel 5400 even comes pre-programmed with several athletics, industrial, and military guidelines to further streamline the set-up process. Learn more about how the Kestrel Heat Stress line can help protect your athletes from heat-related injuries.

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