LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A researcher at the University of Kentucky is warning businesses and companies about the seriousness of the heat wave if their employees have to be outside.

Terry Dunn, professor of epidemiology and environmental health at UK's College of Public Health, said data she's collected shows 63 Kentucky workers were taken to the hospital last year for heat-related illnesses.

The Louisville area has been under an air quality alert for much of the week and an excessive heat warning. Heat index values have reached well above 100 degrees.

"The first thing I would say is to make sure you train your supervisors on recognition of heat exhaustion and heat stroke symptoms so that they're able to recognize them in a timely fashion," Dunn said.

Here are five tips she offered:

  • Wear loose-fitting clothes
  • Avoid working outside in hottest hours of the day
  • Drink at least 2 cups of water per hour when the heat index exceeds 100 degrees
  • Take frequent work breaks during the heat of the day
  • Be trained in first aid to address any heat-related medical issues

"Kentucky actually has not experienced this extreme heat for about a decade, especially for this extended length of time," Dunn said. "So it's something to take very seriously right now."

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